YORK City manager Steve Watson is expecting the “very best Chester” side when they visit Bootham Crescent tomorrow afternoon.

Chester have endured an inconsistent start to the season, having beaten Alfreton Town 3-0 in their last outing but also having fallen to four defeats, including against lower tier outfit Marine.

The Blues, who, like York, were knocked out of last season’s Vanarama National League North play-offs by Altrincham, still find themselves in sixth spot, with City able to overtake them with victory.

“We’ve got to expect the very best Chester, that’s how we have to prepare for the game,” said Watson.

“I watched them the other night and they’ve got a lot of quality and, they also left a few players out.

“I won’t second guess why, whether they were injured or the manager was trying a new system, but (Anthony) Dudley and (Gary) Roberts weren’t playing.

“To be perfectly honest with you, I won’t have much clue what system and what style they’ve play until I see the team tomorrow.

“You’ve got two good sides going up against each other and not really knowing 100 per cent where the other is at.

“They’ve got good experience – in the centre halves, in Roberts the captain.

“They’ve got good energy down the sides and guile in the middle with Dudley and they’ve a striker up front who is on form (Danny Elliott), he’s a good athlete and he covers a lot of ground.

“They’re a good side and they’re managed by two good, very experienced guys (Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley).

“It’s a very, very tough game but whatever game comes along now, we have to start bridging the gap and that has to start tomorrow.”

The gap between York and top spot is currently 13 points, though City do of course have six matches in hand on leaders Gloucester City.

“Certain clubs came out of the blocks absolutely flying, (like) Gloucester and Fylde,” added Watson.

“And don’t get my wrong, they’re still doing brilliantly but above us, the results are starting to even out a little bit and people are dropping points here and there.

“I’ve always said that you’d get a true bit of knowledge about the league when you get to a dozen or so games but that might not be the case at the moment, because you’d got teams on 12 games and us on six.

“It might be by the end of January that everything is caught up, hopefully.

“I did stress a week ago that these five games, including the (FA) Trophy, would be very important. Obviously in the Leamington game, we started far too slowly.

“I thought the other night (against Blyth) we played well, but we can still improve.

“But these three games before the Trophy are very important for us to climb up the table.”

The only downside from Wednesday night’s convincing 3-0 win at Blyth Spartans was the injury picked up by Robbie Tinkler, who came off at half-time.

It adds to a number of defensive injuries, with Michael Duckworth, Josh King and Owen Gamble already missing from the game.

“I’d be surprised if Josh and Owen featured,” said the manager. “When you’ve only got wo full days between the games, another 24 hours would make a massive difference.

“We’ll give everyone as much time as we can to see how they are.

“One thing that we can’t do, is we can’t start someone and then bring them off after 20 minutes if it’s not working.

“We can’t use a very important game against a very good side and see how people are.

“Me and Micky (Cummins, assistant manager) will have to make our decision tomorrow (Saturday morning) whereas in an ideal world, you’d want everything sorted on a Friday and know that everyone has trained the full session and the risk is very low.

“When you’ve got such a short turnaround, you have to give it as long as you can.

“I won’t make decisions on Tinks and a couple of others tomorrow morning and if we need to get people in before the game we will do.

“But that’s the scenario we’re in and lots of teams are in the same scenario. It’s not an issue, I’m not complaining about it, that’s just football.”