YORK City boss Steve Watson has stressed the focus today at Leamington will be on his players and how they respond to yet another spell on the sidelines.

The first-team squad and staff have spent two more weeks in self-isolation after a player tested positive for Covid-19 in the days following City’s win at Southport.

As a result of that positive case, and the one that preceded it in October, York’s trip to Haig Avenue has been their only game in six weeks.

In the meantime, Leamington have notched their first two wins of term - 4-3 over Alfreton Town and 3-0 at Curzon Ashton - and are unbeaten so far in November.

The Brakes have not been untouched by the novel coronavirus, recording three positive player tests since the start of October, but have managed to get seven games and nine points under their belt.

On Tuesday night, Sam Osborne netted a late equaliser against then second-placed AFC Fylde to pick up a 1-1 draw at the Brakes’ Community Stadium.

“They’re much-improved from the last couple of seasons, similar to Southport, Kidderminster, Bradford (Park Avenue) and Curzon,” commented Watson of City’s National League North opponents. “And none more so than Gloucester.

“They’re unbeaten in five games and they have scored plenty of goals in the last three games.

“They will fancy their chances.

“We have done everything we need to do about them, the way they play and the way we think they’ll play.

“But it’s over to us now and it’s about how we respond to the time off. It’s more about us this week.”

As with the previous isolation lay-off, this pause has not been without benefit.

Watson has reported the majority of the squad fit, with only Michael Duckworth a long-term injury concern.

Both Harry Bunn and Jack Redshaw sparkled in the second half of the 3-2 victory over Southport and both have had their injury troubles this season.

Redshaw’s half-time introduction at Southport - who twice took the lead before succumbing to a well-worked Bunn winner - was his first competitive appearance for York since arriving in the summer.

The enforced break has proved a double-edged sword for Watson. On the one hand, it has provided injured players with extra recovery time - and fewer games that York must contest without their aid - but it has also given them less chance to bed back into playing.

York came out of their isolation period on Wednesday this week, giving them two days to prepare together as a squad before the trip to Warwickshire.

And with the squad lacking both game time and training time, Watson has predicted there will be a few changes over the coming busy fixture period.

“Injury-wise, it’s a massive plus,” Watson said. “But like any injury, you want as much football as you can but they have been denied that.

“Like everybody else, they are starting from scratch, though they have had less football than everybody else.

“But both (Bunn and Redshaw) are through the experience and are not feeling the injuries they had.

“With the amount of games we’ve got coming up after what we’ve had, I could guarantee you now that the team that plays against Leamington won’t be the team that plays against Blyth, probably won’t be the team that plays against Chester.

“People will pick up fatigue things. We need to freshen up. That’s why we’ve got a good squad and why we had a very strong bench against Southport.

“There might be strong players who don’t travel to Leamington.

“It’s a completely different scenario from what we’ve been used to. How many times do you get to November and you’re six games behind people?

“It’s a unique situation and we’ve just got to deal with it.”