JOHN ASKEY believes he is starting to the triumphs of his technique as York City head into their Christmas fixture week.

The Minstermen travel to Bradford Park Avenue on Boxing Day (3pm) for the first of three National League North fixtures between Sunday, December 26 and Sunday, January 2.

Since he replaced Steve Watson last month, interim boss Askey has been working to improve fitness among the Minstermen's squad by upping intensity in training, with a goal of getting his players to give their all each game.

He said: "You instil it in training. If you get the work-rate right in training, that improves them as players because they have less time on the ball.

"That transmits over into games and I think you're starting to see that the players do look fitter.

"There have been previous games where we've been conceding last minute and against Matlock, we scored last minute, so hopefully that's changing.

"From what I can see, they do look fitter.

"It should make a difference over the season and over Christmas."

City go to the Horsfall off the back of a 1-0 win at Matlock Town in the FA Trophy, building on a well-fought point against Chorley the week before. York had to fight to the end, with Mark Beck delivering the killer blow in the 91st minute of a tough encounter.

Boxing Day provides another chance for York to show their mettle and, they will hope, to gather some more momentum as they build as a team.

"It doesn't matter how you win," Askey commented. "Football's about winning and, at the moment, we've got to battle and we've got to fight to get results.

"Maybe it's not always going to be pretty but the most important thing at the moment is to get the three points.

"As we develop as a team, performances will improve.

"They're going to make mistakes. It's not alway going to be easy, like we saw at Matlock.

"We're not playing on perfect pitches so mistakes are going to be made but if you show the right attitude and you work hard, you'll get the results.

"But as long as the players are battling and fighting and showing the supporters that they care, then that's all I ask for, that they give 100 per cent every week."

After the trip to Bradford, City have a day's rest before returning to the LNER Community Stadium for a game against Alfreton Town, and will then face Bradford again on January 2.

If all the games go ahead, up for grabs are nine points.

"I used to enjoy playing (during the Christmas period) because games came thick and fast and all I wanted to do was play," Askey said. "I'm sure all players are the same.

"And it's a great period. If you can get on a run, you can get a lot of points in a short period of time.

"It's a shame we haven't got a full squad to pick from but it's a great opportunity for us to get up and get into the position we want to be in."