YORK City manager Martin Foyle does not expect his players to be distracted by next month’s FA Cup trip to Premier League Stoke.

Foyle claimed he had not yet discussed the third-round tie with his team following Sunday’s draw and is trusting his third-placed squad to remain focused on their Blue Square Premier play-off push.

City visit fellow top-five contenders Rushden tonight for the first of a quintet of league games before the Britannia Stadium clash on January 2 or 3 and Foyle said: “I’ve not mentioned Stoke to the players yet and you can’t tell them not to think about that game.

“It’s human nature that they would want to talk about it, but they are very professional in what they are doing at the moment. People might say that it could be a distraction but, if we had lost on Saturday, then we’d be on a massive downer.

“I don’t believe in all that psychology and people will want to win their places for the Stoke game during the next five matches.”

City will still be without defensive trio Ben Purkiss, Djoumin Sangare and Alan O’Hare for the Nene Park encounter and, despite a record of only one goal conceded in four matches, Foyle is fearful of more injuries in that department now the deadline for loan signings before January’s transfer window has passed.

He said: “The most pleasing aspect of our recent form has been the defensive side of things, but it’s not ideal to be down on numbers there at this stage of the season. We’ve just got to get through to the January transfer window and see where we are for fit bodies then.”

City can open up a seven-point gap between themselves and sixth-placed Rushden with a win tonight and Foyle believes all the pressure will be on the hosts.

Foyle said: “They need to beat us, which means they will have to come out at us, but the way our front two are playing will make them very wary of them.

“Along with Cambridge, though, Rushden have been the best footballing side at Bootham Crescent this season. They are going well and you can see why.

“The manager (Justin Edinburgh) has done a good job there and it will be one of our hardest three or four games of the season.”

Foyle is expected to field an unchanged side from the starting XI that clinched Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup second round win at Cambridge, but he emphasised the need for those on the bench to be ready for action, adding: “Our substitutions will be very important in the next few games.”

Barring a major surprise, Foyle was due to be revealed as the Blue Square Premier manager of the month for November today after six wins out of six.

The City chief pointed out the prize would complete a welcome hat-trick of awards, while dismissing the infamous Manager of the Month curse.

He said: “Sir Alex Ferguson never seems to be bothered by it.

“The award would be nice for everybody involved with the club and add to Richard Brodie winning the FA Cup’s Player of the First Round and Michael Rankine getting the Goal of the Second Round.”