THE key thing about early pre-season fixtures is giving players game time - and tomorrow’s trip to Whitby Town is no different, York City boss Steve Watson has said.

City head to the Turnbull Ground for a 1pm kick off for just their third outing ahead of the new National League North campaign.

Their first match ended in a 4-1 win behind closed doors at Newcastle United Under-23s, while Tuesday’s visit to South Shields finished in a 3-0 defeat.

However, the team is returning from a lengthy lay-off with an overhauled squad - just eight of the 19 to take the field on Tuesday had been at City last term - so the emphasis now is on improving fitness and getting the team to gel.

“I’m looking at getting minutes into players, that’s the only important thing about these first three games,” Watson said.

“It was a bit early to take the Shields on. They’re very good and their fitness levels are excellent but if we come out of it with no injuries and get fitness into the lads, it’s been a really worthwhile exercise.

“It will be the same for Whitby. It will be virtually the reverse of this team, I would think.

“After Whitby we can start looking at it in a bit more detail.

“But in my opinion, it’s really all about getting as fit as possible. You can get fit through playing football.

“Because we’ve brought in so many new players, getting them together as many times as possible on a football pitch is going to be vital.”

Whitby Town might come too soon for York’s most recent signing, Michael Woods, Watson says.

The midfielder had trained with previous club Dover Athletic but hadn’t played for the Whites since February of this year.

He was out with Tim Ryan’s Academy side on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, tonight, York City Under-19s travel to Tadcaster Albion’s Global Stadium in the FA Youth Cup.