LAST week's break from action did not afford York City as much recovery time as first hoped, manager Steve Watson has said.

After missing all or part of the Kettering Town game through injury, striker Dan Maguire and centre-backs Josh King and Joe Tait were all on the treatment table this week.

Each took part in training last week, but Tait seems to be in with the best chance of making the team. Watson says he had a full training session on Thursday and, should he get through today, he will be back in the squad.

Though the week might have lacked in recuperation, it did allow for thinking space, and Watson maintains that there is "not a lot wrong" at York, who will be three points off top spot in National League North come 3pm on Saturday.

Despite whomever may be missing against Darlington, Watson promises "a strong 11", and is hopeful Maguire and King could return for the Boxing Day trip to Bradford Park Avenue.

"We hoped the week would give them a chance to recover but it's not really worked out that way," Watson said.

"Dan's still struggling. We've been told by a specialist that it involves his back. He's had a precautionary injection. It's not long-term thing, it's more of a lubricant.

"Both him and Josh King had a very similar thing this week.

"We assessed them early this week and thought if we've got to do it, we should try and get it done this week.

"We're hoping that does the trick.

"Apart from that, we've had a good week's training.

"I was hoping to watch Darlo but that wasn't the case.

"It was a good chance to reflect, and I came to the conclusion that there's not a lot wrong, we've just lacked that bit of a clinical edge. In the past few weeks we've not scored enough, but there are reasons for that and we know the main reason."

As ever, there is a chance the players who come in on Saturday have a chance of impressing and keeping their place - and Watson is willing them to.

Watson also spoke about managing injuries and making sure players do not come back too soon and aggravate problems - something that younger, more zealous players are more susceptible to.

"That happened to Joe when he came back and re-did his injury against Kettering," Watson.

"Josh King was so desperate to play after his first two games, but it was probably unwise for him.

"It happened to Kieran Green earlier in the season.

"That's where young players have to be a little bit more diligent and know their bodies better, know when an injury's an injury or when it's just a bit of fatigue. They'll get that with experience, hopefully.

"Whatever happens Saturday, we'll have a strong 11, a strong enough bench and we'll go from there.

"Hopefully by the Boxing Day game you might have Josh and Dan back to push the lads who are playing.

"But, in an ideal scenario, the lads who are playing Saturday put on a fantastic performance, win the game and keep their places.

"That's what I've always said to the team. You do well for me, play well, do your jobs and win the game, and the shirt's yours.

"Early on in the season it was very tough to change much but now you're giving people chances and trying to find that right balance again that can kick on."