DEFENDER Joe Tait is optimistic of helping make Bootham Crescent a fortress - and is hoping to contribute at the other end of the field as well.

Tait also says the transition to City's new 3-5-2 formation has been made all the easier with the experienced pair of captain Steve McNulty and Sean Newton either side of him.

After Tuesday's 3-0 win at Blyth Spartans, Tait is looking forward to returning to home soil to face Leamington.

"They're a big, direct team," he said of tomorrow's opposition. "They will probably come and pack the midfield, make it difficult to play through the thirds.

"But we've done a lot of work on that. There's no excuses.

"Hopefully we'll have a bumper crowd in and we'll be able to put on a show.

"It's always nice to play in front of a packed-out crowd at Bootham Crescent.

"I think it helps that we've started well because if we can maintain this sort of run and keep accumulating points, they'll be right behind us.

"The gaffer's said about making that place a fortress and if we continue this sort of run, I think it's not far away."

Along with centre-back partners Newton and McNulty, as well as Tom Allan in pre-season, Tait has looked keen to get into the opposition penalty area for set pieces.

He already has one goal to his name this season, scoring against Altrincham in the season-opening 3-1 win.

At 6ft 2ins, Tait poses a good aerial threat, which he almost made count at Croft Park in midweek, on one occasion heading wide from a second-half corner.

"I probably should have scored at Blyth," he admitted.

"It's always nice to chip in with goals. From a centre-half's point of view, you're up for set pieces and corners so you do want to chip in with a few.

"Obviously the job is to keep the back door shut but when I can chip in with goals, which I have done in the past, I'm happy to do that.

"But if it's anything like Tuesday where the boys in front of us can take care of that side of things, I'm happy just playing with the four lads at the back to keep the back door shut."

On his new defensive role, Tait added: "I like it. It's something new and different - I've not played in a three before but we've been well drilled on it.

"I feel pretty comfortable at the minute. Obviously it helps playing alongside Macca and Newts, but so far so good.

"Initially it was all about building a solid foundation.

"We're going to get better. There are times, like on Tuesday, where we knocked off a bit, we got a bit sloppy, but I think we're fundamentally solid.

"Touch wood, I can't envisage us conceding many goals.

"But we have got to maintain those standard and we have to work hard day-to-day.

"You can always get better."

Tomorrow's visitors Leamington are table-toppers in their own way. Having collected four red cards from their opening quartet of fixtures, the New Windmill Ground outfit are steaming ahead at the top of the FA's Fair Play League for the National League North.

Three of the last four meetings between City and the Brakes have ended 2-2. Alex Kempster settling a 1-0 York win in the most recent.

Paul Holleran's men sit ninth with one win, two draws and one loss to their name.