INJURED York City captain Steve McNulty will be given every chance to recover before Saturday's trip to Gloucester City - but if he does not, it presents a great opportunity for someone else.

This is the view of manager Steve Watson, who also wants to avoid adding to his medium-to-long-term injuries list, already occupied by Paddy McLaughlin and Dan Maguire.

McLaughlin's rehabilitation is reported to be going well and he is expected back in training towards the "back end of next week", though Maguire has undergone surgery and could be out for another six weeks.

McNulty, 35, was forced to leave the pitch just 10 minutes into Bank Holiday Monday's National League North 1-1 home draw against Gateshead with a hamstring injury.

And Watson is not concerned about the severity of the injury, though he is wary of bringing the veteran back too soon.

This could mean he misses both Gloucester at the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday (3pm) and Guiseley at Nethermoor Park on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Watson said: "The reason we brought in Josh King and Harry Spratt was if Joe (Tait), Macca or Newts (Sean Newton) did have an injury.

"We won't have somebody with Macca's experience waiting in the wings but, being a young player who came into a first-team environment at 16, I could have sunk or swum, and it's the same with every other lad.

"These are great chances for one or two maybe at the weekend and it's up to them to take it.

"I've no doubt they're capable.

"You never know in football - they might look very solid and Macca struggles to get back in the team," he joked.

He added: "I don't think (the injury) is very serious - we're not talking weeks - but we're contemplating whether the weekend and Guiseley might come too soon.

"It'll be a decision made probably later Friday.

"When it's not a serious injury, every day makes a difference so we're taking the best part of 48 hours before we need to make a decision.

"We'll leave it as late as possible but I will say it could get worse if he's rushed. If that's the case and we have to bite the bullet for a game or two, we'll do that.

"I don't think he's had many muscular injuries and that's probably why it surprised him and he didn't know the extent of it. I think most of them have been rough and tumbles.

"We can't take risks with anybody too early in the season.

"We've already got two costly injuries and we don't want it to add to that with another long-termer."

The loss of centre-back McNulty on Monday heralded the reversion to a 4-3-3 formation, rather than the 3-5-2 formation City have employed to such avail this term.

But Watson is reluctant to put too much store in the way his side sets up - and says York have good options for tomorrow.

"It's difficult to do in the middle of a game, when you've played 12, 13 games in one system," Watson said about the impromptu change of formation.

"We've had time to work on it now so it's something that is an option for us.

"It's not something I'm too fussed about.

"Systems are not the be all and end all. It's about players being confident, being good on the ball and knowing each other's jobs.

"We've got a number of things we can do," he added. "We can go back to a back four, which we've done well with last season.

"We can play Josh King and we can play Harry Spratt as a third centre-half."

On the respective recoveries of McLaughlin and Maguire, Watson said: "Paddy's not too far away. He'll hopefully be training with us the back end of next week, then he's got to get back to match fitness.

"Knowing Paddy like I do, he will have done his rehab to the absolute letter.

"Dan is a different story. He needed an operation to clear his knee and he's probably going to be the best part of six weeks.

"It's a huge blow to us. At the start of the season, we sacrificed quantity for what I thought was a bit more quality and Dan's a big part of that.

"It's disappointing for Dan and the fans who were excited to get a look at him this season."