YORK City boss Steve Watson has praised the way his charges have "stood up" for big games ahead of Saturday's trip to high-flying rivals Chester.

Second-placed Chester sit just two points behind National League North leaders York and have one of the best scoring records in the top six levels of English football.

The Blues missed the chance to go level on points at the summit last Saturday, drawing 2-2 at Blyth Spartans while York were in FA Cup action against National League outfit Stockport County.

Chester's total of 31 league goals puts them second only to Peterborough United (34) from the Premier League down to Step 2. Their average of 2.2 goals per game places them comfortably among the top 10 best league goalscorers for those tiers.

But the unbeaten Minstermen's defensive record also speaks for itself - their seven goals conceded is the joint-fewest in the top six tiers along with Liverpool and Sheffield United, though the Premier League duo have played just nine games each, while City have played 13, averaging out at a stingy 0.54 goals per game.

Last week's 2-0 win over Stockport was not York's first good victory of the season either, having beaten fourth-placed King's Lynn Town 3-0 in September.

"They're a good side," Watson said of Chester, after whom York have home games against Boston United and Kidderminster Harriers. "They've scored lots of goals - but we have got one of the best defensive records.

"It's two in-form teams going at it, which was the case when we played King's Lynn.

"Games where we have had to produce against teams in and around us, and obviously Stockport on Saturday, the lads have stood up and performed.

"It should, and will, give us confidence going into this weekend's game and we have three massive games this week.

"There are no trophies handed out in October but, with the cup game, between now and January we've got games coming thick and fast and they will play a big part in how the season is going to go.

"We're under no illusions how important this spell is."

With 12 league goals to his name already, striker Akwasi Asante is a player Watson is familiar with from his time coaching at Birmingham City, while two-goal attacker Anthony Dudley played on loan under Watson at Macclesfield Town.

“Their record shows they have quality at the top end,” Watson added. “They play up the pitch. They will be a big test.

“We came up against a side like them in King’s Lynn. They had a lot of possession and we stayed in shape but we frustrated them and we broke and did really well.

“It might be one of those where we have to be patient, we have to soak up a certain amount of pressure, but the lads have stood up to that type of game.”

In the York side, Watson says there have been “a couple” who missed training sessions this week but insists it is “nothing to worry about”.

Both returning from injury, Dan Maguire and Kallum Griffiths have trained all week after impressing in the Stockport game.

“I’m really pleased with the two lads who I took a chance on putting back in,” Watson said.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent convinced they were ready to go back into a match of that magnitude but with it being the cup I thought it was a better chance to try them than in a league game because, let’s get it right, the league is our priority.

“They’ve come through that well, which is a gamble that paid off in the end.

“Whether we change personnel or thought process away from home against a successful attacking team is something me and Micky will have a chat about.

“It’s been very difficult for Dan,” Watson added of Maguire, who missed 14 games with a knee injury.

“He made a big decision in the summer - we talked him into going full-time from a job he’s had since he left school. He found that difficult. His injury was a product of that .

“It must have been very frustrating watching us do as well as we have done for the first dozen games of the season and not be able to be part of it.

“He’s brilliant around the place, the lads absolutely love him, he’s infectious and it’s fantastic to have him back.”