STEVE WATSON is hoping that tomorrow afternoon's Vanarama National League North match against Chester can draw a record crowd at the LNER Community Stadium.

York City and Chester are two of the largest clubs in the sixth tier and both boast attendances, having spent the vast majority of their history in the Football League.

In 2019/20, the two sides were ranked in the top three for home attendances in the division and the pair of meetings between the clubs drew crowds of over 3,500.

Having seen just over 3,000 at the LNER Community Stadium for the Minstermen's last league win over Southport, the highest seen thus far at the new ground, another sizeable crowd is expected.

“The last league game was fantastic, it was a fantastic atmosphere and a great crowd," enthused City manager Watson.

"After getting through to the next round of the cup, you’d like to think that two of the bigger sides in the league would put on a good show.

“Hopefully we can try and challenge the last number.”

Chester's former club, Chester City, spent decades in the Football League before eventually liquidating in 2010.

Similarly, York were playing League Two football as recently as 2016, before successive relegations took them into regionalised football.

“This league and the league above is littered with ex-(Football) League clubs and in the (Football) League now you’ve got teams that have never been there before," added Watson.

“But that’s just the way football is, it has its ups and downs and it’s a rollercoaster supporting any club, I suppose outside the top six in the Premier League.

“I’ve no doubt that Chester have got the same ambitions as we have and so will Kiddy (Kidderminster), Hereford and Fylde.

“We all want the same thing but unfortunately there’s only two places up for grabs.

“We’re not even into double figures in games and we’re probably two or three points away from where we deserve to be, but no more than that.

“We still know that there’s a lot more to come and when we do have a lot of players, who are the best in their position in the league, back, we will be a lot stronger.”

Chester sat third in the table when last season was curtailed amid the coronavirus pandemic and are again expected to challenge at the top this term.

It has been tough going though for the Blues, who have won just two of their first eight league games.

Further to that has been a humiliating 4-0 FA Cup defeat to Marske United of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

In joint managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, best known for their time at Salford City, Chester possess serial non-league promotion winners.

“I think if you look at their record since they started managing, it stands up to anybody’s," said Watson.

"They’ve got a great way about them, in terms of the way that they get their lads going.

“The way that they act in the dugouts sometimes it can wind people up, but that’s part and parcel of football.

“They’re very passionate and vocal, on and off the pitch with social media - they’re different to me in that respect, but everybody has their own way of doing things.

“I was pleased to see that Johnno had turned a corner health wise.

"He had a few problems earlier in the year but it’s good to see him back in the dugout.”

Speaking about Chester's threats, Watson added: “They’ve changed their system three or four times.

“And the personnel has changed a lot, from (Anthony) Dudley to (Jack) Redshaw to (Darren) Stephenson.

“It won’t be until we see their team at 2pm that we have an idea of what they’re going to do.

“But we have to plan for what we’re going to do, despite what the opposition are doing.”