YORK City’s youngsters are progressing well - but it may be too soon yet to throw them into the side, manager Steve Watson believes.

Academy graduates Jonny Haase, Jack Degruchy and Luke Jones have been featured on the bench a good few times but are still waiting to make a first-team appearance this season.

Summer signings Maison Campbell and Lewis Cunningham have also yet to make an appearance for the Minstermen.

Of those five, left-backs Cunningham and Haase are spoken of as the closest to turning out for City. Both might have been given a run-out against Whitby Town last weekend, had Cunningham not been injured and had York been further than two goals ahead to make it comfortable for Haase.

York are still struggling with injuries, and such struggles can sometimes be the making of a young player - including Watson who, at the time of his debut, was the youngest-ever player for Newcastle United.

“I don’t think they’re ready, but looking back at myself as a player, people maybe didn’t think I was ready,” he admitted.

“You never know until you do that.

“I got my chance in a similar situation. There were injuries and lack of form and it worked for me. It could well work for these lads.

“At the moment, I think the environment, standard and the amount of games they’ve played with Tim (Ryan, youth team coach) make me think they probably need a little bit more training with us, and ideally a better integration of games.

“We can’t have that at the moment. We haven’t got enough bodies for behind-closed-doors friendlies, we’re not in the North Riding Cup.

“We have to be dead sure. They’re progressing well but maybe not quite yet.”

City’s situation with their on-loan players is also a mixed bag.

Reon Potts and Archie Whitfield are both on loan at Ossett United, with whom they won the West Riding County FA Senior Cup first round tie at Selby Town on Tuesday, while keeper Ryan Whitley is at Scarborough Athletic.

While at these part-time sides, they have not been training with York - though that was not the intention, Watson revealed.

“I spoke to Reon for a long time (on Wednesday). He’s started well, he’s scoring goals,” Watson said.

“I speak to their chairman and manager - especially the chairman. That’s the reason they went to Ossett. We have a good relationship and we know they’ll be well looked after.

“Covid is the real sting in the tail as to why we’ve done it - the idea was to send them there but be full-time with us but because of bubbles, they’re not able to train with us.

“Reon, Archie and Ryan aren’t training with us, which we wanted them to. That’s been disappointing.

“They’re doing the right thing. They’re out playing and we’ll assess them all in January.”

Tomorrow (3pm), City welcome National League North basement side Southport to the LNER Community Stadium.

It will be the fifth time in six games City have played at home, with three more to come before the end of the month.

After Southport comes an FA Cup fourth round qualifying home tie against Morpeth Town, following last week’s win over Whitby.

“You’re looking at the fixtures and they just keep rolling them out,” Watson said. “That’s three good Cup draws at home.

“We’re fully aware that we haven’t started the way we wanted to, especially after the positivity of pre-season, but it’s up to us to change the mindset of the lads, at home as well.

“Only we can do it, and we need to get back to winning ways, that’s for sure.”

“(Southport) have got some good players, they’ve had a bad start. That’s all has-been,” he added.

“They got a great win midweek against Spenny. Very strong, very direct, lots of set-plays and long throws.

“We’ve done work on that this morning. Playing teams like this, it’s not usually the first ball that’s your problem.”