YORK City manager Martin Foyle feels his players are now better equipped to tackle FA Trophy final conquerors Stevenage.

The Minstermen put up a meek challenge on their way to a 2-0 defeat at Wembley back in May but Foyle is hoping his new squad can erase the painful memories during tomorrow’s Blue Square Premier clash at Bootham Crescent.

Only four City players who featured under the arch – Michael Ingham, Ben Purkiss, Daniel Parslow and Richard Brodie – are expected to start against Graham Westley’s men.

Foyle also believes he now boasts a stronger set of substitutes than he had at his disposal at Wembley, where the Minstermen struggled to muster a response after falling behind to Steve Morison’s opening second-half goal.

The City chief said: “We can now look at our bench and know we have players who can change the game, which wasn’t really the case at Wembley. Now, if we go behind in a game, we know we can come back and get something as we did against Cambridge.

“We also know that if we need to defend a lead, we can do that as well, as we showed against Kidderminster.”

Foyle refuses to underestimate the threat third-placed Stevenage pose to his team’s unbeaten, eight-match run, having seen their 1-0 win at pre-season title favourites Luton Town on Tuesday.

He added: “They totally deserved to win. Stevenage might have a few players out but are still the big boys for me.

“They must have been gutted at missing out on promotion last season because they should never have been beaten by Cambridge in the play-off semi-finals.

“They are a big, strong team who take no prisoners but, when Luton raised their tempo, they caused them some problems.”

He added: “We have concentrated on keeping the ball and moving it around in training.” Foyle preferred not to reveal whether on-loan Oxford United left-footer Chris Carruthers would be making his full debut tomorrow but added the former England Under-20 international will provide competition for at least three places in the team.

The City chief said: “I wanted him in because he’s a decent lad with a great attitude to training and match preparation.

“He’s a quality player and a bit like Alex Lawless in that he can play in both wide spots or inside and be equally competent in all three positions. He is somebody who will make the squad better.”

Foyle stressed that Carruthers’ arrival did not mean the death knell for left-sided pair Craig Nelthorpe and Andy McWilliams’ hopes of breaking into the side.

Both players are yet to make a first-team start this season but Foyle said: “Andy McWilliams’ attitude has been absolutely fantastic. He knows we have raised the bar from last season but he has told us it’s nice to be training with better players and he will benefit from that.

“Craig Nelthorpe’s had a sticky start and had one or two problems off the pitch, as well as getting sent off in pre-season. Suspensions, injuries and dips in form can soon change things.

“Richard Brodie is the obvious example. He was dropped for two games and hated it but got another chance and when he came back showed he doesn’t want to lose his shirt again.”

Midfielder Lawless, meanwhile, is poised for a playing return after missing the last two matches due to illness.

City (probable): Ingham, Purkiss, Parslow, Sangare, Meredith, Smith, Lawless, Barrett, Ferrell, Gash, Brodie. Subs: Carruthers, Rankine, McGurk, Mackin, Nelthorpe.

Stevenage (probable): Day, Brough, Bostwick, Roberts, Laird, Drury, Murphy, Byrom, Cole, Beardsley, Griffin. Subs: Odhiambo, Bayes, Albrighton, Odubade, Boylan.

Referee: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire).

Kick-off: 3pm.