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Watson pleased with Stockport showing

By Dan Simmonite | 19th September 2020

Steve Watson was feeling ‘buoyed’ after another pre-season run out for his team against National League favourites Stockport County. 

“I think it was a great test, great workout and I think they felt the same. Jim, their manager, said exactly that after the game and you wouldn’t have thought there was a league between us,” said the Manager. 

“They’ll be right up there with the favourites to win that league and rightly so, they are a good side and have recruited well. 

“We put a side out that was a bit closer to what we were maybe looking to start with and there was a load of positives, I was really buoyed by watching it. 

“The last two games have literally been two 45’s for two different sides – today was the first time I’ve tested something like we are going to go into the season with. 

“I was really impressed and for the first time I could see a team that keeps the ball and was comfortable in possession through the middle of the park as opposed to we spent a lot of times down the sides last year –which we still have the people to do – we were brave on the ball and looked good athletes. 

“It was a much better test and we came through it with a lot more positives than we have done so far in pre-season.” 

New signing Akil Wright made his debut in a midfield three alongside Michael Woods and Paddy McLaughlin, all of whom impressed with their performances. 

Watson added: “The midfield looked very good, we started a little bit slowly because they sat a bit deep but when Akil and Woodsy pressed higher up the pitch we won the ball back well and they were both very good on the ball.  

“Woodsy was excellent and Paddy (McLaughlin) has had a fantastic pre-season and there were still people who didn’t start, like Olly Dyson when he came on, he was possibly the best player on the pitch. 

He continued, speaking on his options this season: “We need competition all over the pitch. I’m looking at four midfielders competing for three places and four strikers competing for two places so that’s what we need and also, we are going to pick up injuries, have a little bit of a loss of form. 

“A lot of these lads haven’t played [competitively] since March and so they are going to have a spell where they are going to feel fatigued and have the odd injury especially with the amount of Tuesday, Saturday games coming up so we need very good backups.” 

Goalkeeper Ryan Whitley joined Scarborough this morning and made his debut for the Seadogs later on, keeping a clean sheet as the club started with winning ways in the Northern Premier League. 

In the meantime, Watson has signed former Middlesbrough ‘keeper Harry Flatters on a contract until the end of the season to provide backup and competition for Pete Jameson between the sticks. 

Speaking on the goalkeeping situation, Watson said: “If me and Micky were being selfish, we’d love to keep Ryan on the bench playing the odd cup game, and challenging Pete who I’d say is the best ‘keeper in the league. 

“We are thinking of Ryan and thinking of his career, at his age now he needs to go and play thirty, forty games this season and with him being a goalkeeper we can always recall him if we need him within 24 hours so it’s not really too much of a gamble for us either. 

“It’s the right thing to do for Ryan and the right thing to do for York as well because he will become a better ‘keeper - he’s not going to improve as much sitting on the bench not playing and we’ve signed a young ‘keeper who has got a really good future as well who will step into Ryan’s shoes. 

“We wouldn’t have done it if we hadn’t of signed Harry but hopefully it will work out well for all parties – I wish him all the best - he deserves to be playing.” 

City now look forward to their final game of pre-season against Notts County next Saturday before the season starts with the Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round on the 3rd October. 

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