JOE TAIT is confident he and fellow centre-back Sean Newton will have "no qualms stepping up to the plate" if Steve McNulty is missing on Saturday.

The veteran defender has played a big role as part of the Minstermen's back three this season, but a hamstring injury could prevent him from turning out at Gloucester City (3pm).

Tait, 29, has great praise for what McNulty has brought to the team and the dressing room - but insists he is unfazed by the prospect of his absence.

"We're experienced lads," he said of himself and Newton. "We can play in a four and a three, as we've shown this season.

"When Macca went off on Monday it sort of upset our rhythm, because we'd started alright.

"If Macca is out - and I don't know if he is - we'll have no qualms about stepping up to the plate and putting in the performance we know we can.

"(McNulty) has been brilliant. Not just on the pitch but off the pitch, he's a really calming influence.

"He's a real presence and he understands people, he knows when you need an arm round you and when you need a rollicking.

"I think that sort of experience has really helped us so far this season.

"Credit to the gaffer, all his signings have added to what we had before.

"The gaffer's been brilliant with me," he added.

"Last season I was nowhere near the team but he didn't shy away from helping and coaching me.

"I had a word with him in the summer. He felt I was too top-heavy, and I've come back fit.

"He's just filled us with confidence. I've got a new lease of life.

"Hopefully I can repay the faith he showed in me over the summer."

Tait conceded the penalty from which Gateshead equalised on Bank Holiday Monday in the 1-1 at a sweltering Bootham Crescent, and is eager to make amends on Saturday.

Opponents Gloucester currently sit 11th in National League North with three wins and three losses from their first seven games. Joe Hanks has been their biggest goal threat this season, with four goals to his name.

The Tigers play in Evesham - a 330-mile round-trip from Bootham Crescent. The York squad are heading down tomorrow night.

"It's a long trip," Tait said. "But it's an overnighter, so we've got no excuses.

"We need to take this early-season form and put a performance on because I felt we let ourselves down on Monday. Not making excuses, it was tough, playing twice in three days, but hopefully we'll bounce back and come away with a positive result.

"It was disappointing on Monday not to get the three points but, on balance, we're going to get games like that this season. It was a good point because I felt we were just that bit off it from the start.

"I'm happy to be playing every minute of every game and long may it last.

"What the gaffer and Micky (Cummins, assistant) have put at the forefront is being fundamentally strong throughout, and I think we've looked really solid.

"It was disappointing to concede on Saturday and obviously for myself, to give away the penalty.

"On the whole, I think we've been solid, and that's not just the defence and Pete. We've pressed really well from the front."