WITH the changes he has overseen, Steve Watson has said he would be "amazed and disappointed" if bad memories of York City's trips to Curzon Ashton were still hanging over his players.

On Saturday (3pm), National League North leaders York will be looking to return from the Nash's Tameside Stadium with a positive result for the first time in four visits.

The first-ever meeting between the sides in Ashton-under-Lyne back in 2016 saw NLN outfit Curzon beat City - then of the National League - 2-1 in an FA Cup replay. In 2018, Niall Cummins scored a hat-trick as the Nash ran out 4-1 winners and, last season, a sole Ryan Shenton goal condemned York to a 1-0 defeat.

From each of the two more recent losses, there are six players who remain regular starters in Watson's City side. Adriano Moke and David Ferguson featured in both, while Alex Kempster scored as a substitute in the 4-1 defeat. Jordan Burrow, Kallum Griffiths and Sean Newton have also been involved in Greater Manchester.

But Watson is adamant his side should be past it now.

With Newton cited as an example of a player who may have previous poor performances in his mind, he said: "It's a completely different team and environment we've created now.

"I would be amazed if anyone has been thinking like that and disappointed if they were, but I don't think they are.

"I know mentally strong Sean is. He has been one of the lads to go through tough times, and look at how he's stood up and reacted, the same as Adriano and Taity.

"But they've come out and been some of our best players this season.

"I would be surprised if anybody was thinking that way.

"Now our collective thought is about getting back to winning ways in the league."

York's last outing ended in a 1-0 home defeat to Altrincham in the FA Cup first round - the Minstermen's first competitive loss since April 19.

Watson says there is no need to worry - but the Minstermen must keep their standards high to avoid a repeat.

He said: "We didn't perform or create as much as we have done but it wasn't a disastrous performance.

"There's no need to panic and to overthink it.

"We got back into training and I just reminded the players how well we've done this season in respect of where we were hoping to be.

"I was speaking to a lad before the start of the season and he was saying that if York were around the top two, three or four coming up to Christmas, we'd be absolutely delighted.

"This league is so tough and there will be chops and changes throughout. There's no need to offload on anybody or get too up or down about anything.

"I keep a level head because I know everybody's gunning for us. That's where we've put ourselves.

"Everybody needs to understand what it will take to win this league. It's going to be very, very tough.

"We're not doing a lot wrong," he added. "We're defending very well, as our goal record will tell you.

"We don't need to make drastic changes. We just need to be quicker with the ball, we need to test their keeper more and look after the ball better.

"That's what we've done the majority of the season and there's no reason we can't go back to doing that.

"With the exception of the first time on Sunday, the games we've needed to win, against teams in and around us, we've won.

"We've got a run of games now where we've got to keep the same standard up.

"All the teams we're going to play between now and Christmas are going to be gunning to be the first team to beat York in the league.

"We have got to step up, and I've no doubt we can."

Keeper Pete Jameson took a knock on Sunday and Dan Maguire has not been involved in training after taking a blow to the bottom of his spine. Some players have been kept away from training because of illness.

Any absences could be a catalyst for Watson to make changes to the side. He named both Macaulay Langstaff and Elliott Durrell as players who have yet to see much game time.

"We've got a good-sized squad and will certainly have more than enough quality players to put a good side out," he added.