STEVE WATSON has said "it would be fantastic" for Bootham Crescent to welcome York City fans back after eight months absent.

It was announced earlier this week that elite sport will be able to host spectators again after the country returns to a tiered system when lockdown ends on December 2.

On Thursday, York was revealed to have been placed in Tier 2, meaning City will be able to host up to 2,000 supporters. No elite football team has been placed in Tier 1, which would otherwise permit up to 4,000 fans.

Following the announcement regarding spectators' return, York have said they are working to prepare Bootham Crescent and get the necessary certificates.

York's next home game is on Saturday, December 5. The last time spectators were present was for the visit of Hereford on March 3.

"Any amount of fans would be a huge bonus, not just for the players and the club but for the fans themselves," said Watson.

"We're hoping that by - I don't know if it will be too early - our next home game, which will be Chester on the fifth, that might have been sorted out.

"We've got three home games on the spin and it would be fantastic to get fans in and for the fans to get some normality back."

York travel to Leamington in the National League North on Saturday for their first outing since a 3-2 win at Southport on November 10, after which a player's positive Covid-19 test saw first-team players and staff in self-isolation until this Wednesday.

Watson has warned that the momentum from the Southport win - which itself came after a fortnight's disruption - may not carry over into the weekend - but that does not change his focus.

"It will be very difficult to pick up the tempo," he said. "It stands to reason since we have spent a month in the house unable to do anything like football training.

"The players we've got here are a really good, very diligent bunch of pros and they will be as fit as possible. I'm still hopeful we can pick up where we left off.

"We know our jobs and we know what we need to do. We know enough about the opposition, we've watched them twice now. We're doing everything we can.

"Nothing changes in my mentality of wanting to go there and win.

"It's been very frustrating," he continued. "The first one was frustrating enough but we get ourselves a good week's training and put in a lot of work, get a lot of things right on the pitch at Southport and we got stopped in our tracks again.

"There are a lot of protocols and we've done everything we could.

"We've only had two isolated cases, none of it's spread, so we're doing everything right.

"You go to an away game and you're put in a dressing room together, there's not a lot we can do about that. There were 20-odd people in one small dressing room. The league thought that was enough to be a risk and that has to be looked at at every ground now.

"We give both of our dressing rooms to the away team and we get changed in the bar.

"But we're always running a risk in somebody else's hands. 

"Ultimately, we've had 20-odd fit players having sat in the house. Back on the training pitch, it's a fine line getting as much work into them as you can and not running the risk of picking up injuries by doing things too quickly.

"It's been tough, though not as tough as millions have found it.

"The best thing about the two days we have had are that everybody seems fit, apart from Michael Duckworth, who is a long-term injury," he added. "We've got a block of five games where we have to build fitness up and pick up points.

"If nothing else goes wrong, we should be coming out of this hopefully with as many points as possible."