STEVE WATSON has indicated that York City's fringe players are likely to get an extended run-out against Pickering Town on Tuesday evening.

The sides - who played out an entertaining six-goal encounter in pre-season - meet at Bootham Crescent (7.30pm) in the first round of the North Riding County FA Senior Cup.

Sandwiched between York's first defeat of the National League North season last Saturday, and the FA Trophy third qualifying round this coming weekend, the Senior Cup would not appear to be high on Watson's priorities list.

There have been suggestions that the Trophy tie against Altrincham would be similarly low down the list, but Watson has insisted otherwise.

With York out of the FA Cup - beaten by upcoming opponents Altrincham - the Trophy is the sole remaining cup competition in which the boss could realise his stated dream to take City to Wembley this season.

And following the 1-0 defeat at Curzon Ashton, Watson implied that Saturday would not be the day to tinker with his side.

He said: "We've got a game on Tuesday where I'm hoping to get 90 minutes into as many as I can of the lads who need minutes and have been on the peripheries, playing bit parts.

"I'm hoping to put out a strong side against Pickering.

"Saturday, I was always going to try and win the game.

"We never think beyond the next game and we would never have thought beyond Ashton until now actually. It's a game I wanted to win regardless of losing (on Saturday)."

Though able to put out a strong and familiar-looking team at the Tameside Stadium, there were a couple of absences to be accounted for. Adriano Moke was a notable missing name due to illness - the first time this season he has been left out of the matchday squad. Dan Maguire, meanwhile, had not fully recovered from the knock to the base of his spine from last Sunday. The only player Watson had to make a decision on was centre-back Josh King. Harry Spratt made the journey instead and replaced Joe Tait at half-time.

Connor Dimaio's first-half strike was the difference between the sides come the final whistle. It looked like it had given a disappointing York side a mountain to climb in the second period. City's best effort on goal of the opening 45 minutes was volleyed wide by Elliott Durrell.

By the hour mark, Watson had made all three substitutions as City picked up in intensity and intent, but the attacking introductions of Kieran Green and Macaulay Langstaff did not yield the desired result.

Rather, Watson was left scratching his head as to how York could have been playing with such an apparent dearth of self-belief.

He said: "We were playing a 3-4-3 in the end but sometimes when teams have something to hold on to and are happy with what they've got in a game it's very difficult.

"The only way we looked like scoring was balls into the box but their keeper did very well today.

"I thought today on a good pitch, it would have been tailor-made for Elliott, but we moved the ball so slowly in the first half that by the time we had the ball in and around the areas we wanted Elliott on the ball in, they'd all got their bodies back in.

"All the possession we had was with the back three, and that's because we moved the ball so slowly and were playing with a bit of negativity first half.

"I wish I had the answers, and I'll find them, but I wish I had the answers as to why they should be seen to be lacking in confidence."

Tomorrow night's match against Pickering could be a good chance to restore some belief after back-to-back defeats in cup and league.

Also in need of a confidence boost, the Pikes sit rock bottom of the Northern Premier League north/west division. They picked up their first league point in seven games on Saturday at Mill Lane in a 1-1 draw with Widnes.

Recently, sole consolation for manager Denny Ingram was his side's strike power, which failed to find the net in only three of their first 13 games in all competitions.

The subsequent four outings, though, ended with three defeats and nothing in the Pikes' 'goals for' column, leaving Ingram to rue weaknesses at both ends of the pitch.

Pikes fans will hope Danny Earl - who is back playing after suffering a tibial stress fracture - can abate their goalscoring problems, the striker announcing his return with the equaliser against Widnes.

At the end of July, a youthful York side came back from two goals down to beat Pickering 4-2 at Mill Lane in a pre-season friendly. Liam Smith hit a double, with Wes York and Macaulay Langstaff making sure of the result after Issy Pearson and Michael Hollingsworth had scored for the Pikes.