STEVE WATSON has reiterated his firm stance about the difficulty of York City’s task of promotion this season, stating “there’s no givens in football.”

York were the pre-season bookies’ favourites for promotion from the Vanarama National League North in pre-season and made a lightening start to this term after going unbeaten in their first 16 league matches.

A first league defeat came at Curzon Ashton last month, the second of three defeats which saw the Minstermen exit both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy - knocked out at home to Altrincham on both occasions.

City’s lapse in form coincided with a run of five straight wins for now division leaders King’s Lynn, who are a point clear of York.

There’s a strong expectation from the club’s supporters to make a return to the top-flight of non-league football this term, with City one of the rare sides in the division to hold a full-time squad of players.

However, Watson remained consistent in reminding those surrounding the club about the size of the task in hand, continuing with tomorrow’s trip to fourth-from-bottom Kettering (3pm).

“Like anything, it’s not going to be easy because nothing is easy,” said Watson.

“I read something yesterday that made me giggle. Somebody said ‘this is becoming hard’.

“But, this has been hard since we came in on July 1, when we were still bringing players in.

“We’ve put a new squad together after a couple of mid-table finishes in the last two seasons. Whatever way you look at it, it was always going to be hard.

“I’ve been trying to keep expectation levels reasonable from day one.

“It’s going to take a heck of a lot to achieve what we want to achieve from now until the end of the season.

“My job is to get the players into a mental focus and getting them ready for every single game.

“Hopefully everyone else can get on board with that.

Watson also stressed that York’s, or any club’s, historical success is no guarantee of its right to be sitting in the higher tiers in the present day.

He added: “Hereford are a good example, having been there the other night. They’ve got a fantastic stadium – a (Football) League stadium – and they’ve been a (Football) League club.

“But, they’ve got no god given right to go up either.

“It’s a fallacy to say that we’ve got any more of a right than anyone else to get out of this league.

“The first thing that came out of their (Hereford’s) manager’s mouth was about us being a full-time team. But the two teams that got out of the league last season were part-time (Stockport County and Chorley).

“There’s no givens in football.

“I can’t dictate what people say about us and their expectations of ourselves. I’ve tried to but I can’t dictate what people come out with.

“There’s people on a matchday that come out with comments that baffle me.

“But, what I really hope is that they’re well drowned out by the positivity that we’ve tried to create this season. That’s all I can really hope for.

“I’ve said for a long time that the reason I’m here is to get the team promoted.

“But, that’s not a given. There’s a dozen teams that will still fancy their chances of promotion this season.”

York will be hoping to extend their impressive record away from home during this campaign on Saturday.

City have taken more points on their travels than they have at Bootham Crescent this season.

Conversely, only three sides have taken less home points than 19th-placed Kettering and only two teams have scored less home goals.

“When teams do come to Bootham Crescent, it does lift them,” added Watson of the successful trips.

“And, with the exception of one or two teams, they do come here to remain very hard to beat and hard to break down.

“When you do go away from home, teams are expected to come at you.

“Hereford are a good example of a team that is going to come at you, but I thought that we broke well and that we had a solid base at the back.

“Sometimes at home, we’ve got to be a little bit more patient. I think the King’s Lynn game (3-0 win) was a perfect example of that.”