STEVE WATSON has urged his York City players to find confidence within themselves following Saturday's defeat to Altrincham.

The 1-0 FA Trophy third qualifying round tie loss was another in which commentors have noted an apparent lack of self-belief in the side.

But at National League North level, he explains, there are not as many people around to "help as much with that" - and so it is up to City to find it within.

The Minstermen return to Bootham Crescent this Saturday (3pm) when they face Alfreton Town in the league - a game Watson has said City will aim to go into "all guns blazing".

With Tuesday evening's North Riding County FA Senior Cup match against Pickering Town the exception, it was City's third defeat in four, a run which also included their first National League North reversal of the season.

Curzon Ashton's win at the Tameside Stadium cost York their leadership of the division, though they are still second in the table and two points off table-toppers King's Lynn Town with a game in hand.

Watson said: "It frustrates me hearing people say 'were your team lacking a lot of confidence when you're sitting second in the table with a game in hand?'

"Without having a go at my players, as a group, we need to be mentally stronger.

"It's a big club to play for and sometimes, when things aren't going your way, that's a side of football at these levels you don't have people around to help as much with that.

"It's something we need to find among ourselves, that confidence, that belief and that mental strength to brush this off, learn from it and concentrate on one thing only and that's to try and get out of this league, which is what everybody wants."

He added: "To get promoted or have a chance of winning the title, you've got to have good home form, and at the moment, the players are not showing enough confidence at home. We all need to address that.

"I've no doubt we're good enough and we've got a strong enough squad to win the next two league games. If we do that, then everything changes again.

"It's finding the right blend of players to come out against Alfreton all-guns-blazing, front-foot football and force the win."