YORK City boss Steve Watson has admitted keeping players out of the squad is never easy - but they accept it for the good of the team.

Barring the attackers Dan Maguire and Kieran Green, who have been interchanged as the former recovers from a knee injury, York's starting 11 has remained the same.

Paddy McLaughlin has had a couple of appearances off the bench - before similarly succumbing to a knee injury - as have Wes York and Nathan Dyer.

Macaulay Langstaff is the one substitute who has come onto the pitch every game so far this term, with Ryan Whitley and Harry Spratt unused substitutes in each game up to now - meaning York have used just 16 players so far this term.

"It's impossible to keep players happy who aren't playing," Watson jokingly admitted.

"But they know they're part of it.

"It's a lot easier to justify players not playing when we're winning and we're not conceding and we're top of the league.

"Hopefully we won't have this conversation but if we do have a slip then these lads will have every right to come and knock on my door.

"But at the moment, everybody understands the lads that have got the shirts are doing their jobs.

"You have to be pleased with the start we've made, we're unbeaten in five and only conceded the one goal.

"I know we've been good in front of goal but there's still loads to work on," he added.

"We're nowhere near the finished article, no teams are.

"Keeping the focus is the main thing, going into every game with the same mindset and ruthlessness with and without the ball, and that's where they've been good so far."

The first month of the National League North season was predicted to be a tough one for City, who - by the end of August - will have taken on four of last season's top six in eight league fixtures over the course of four weeks.

Tomorrow's game at Spennymoor Town (3pm) is the first preceded by a full week's break for City since the start of pre-season a month and a half ago.

City have used the quasi-rest to their advantage, Watson says - but it has not affected their match preparations.

He said: "The players that have played a lot more minutes, there's two or three feeling injuries they've been feeling for a couple of weeks, so it was probably a good chance to let them recover, give themselves an extra day for them to get back to normal.

"The training has been the same as all season, a very high intensity (on Thursday).

"It is a tough month. We've still got injuries to Paddy (McLaughlin), Josh King and Dan Maguire, and our squad isn't as big as it was last season so there's more emphasis on the starting 11.

"But that's this league. It's a tough league.

"This is summer. We all know what the winter's like, playing Saturday-Tuesday on heavy pitches.

"We can only take it a week at a time and at the moment we're in a good place."

Meanwhile, centre-back Tom Allan has been on loan at Farsley Celtic since last Friday - and was part of the side that beat Spennymoor 1-0 last weekend.

"Tom's mid-20s," Watson explained of his position at York and his role with the Minstermen. "It's a little bit different to having Harry Spratt and Josh King as back-up because they're still very young and their time will come but Tom's at an age where he needs to be playing every week, for himself and for us.

"If we're in need of the back-up and Tom comes back after a productive month, that's got to be good for both parties."