Rovers & Knights set to see in 2020 with a bang
York City Knights will kick off their 2020 pre-season programme with a trip to Featherstone Rovers this Sunday, 5th January (3pm).
James Ford’s squad will shake off any festive cobwebs looking for revenge after a series of memorable clashes in 2019, including the Championship play-off semi-final.
The Knights Head Coach said: “Training has gone really well and the players are certainly making it difficult for me to identify my best 17. I’m looking forward to watching them all intensify the competition for places with a strong performance against a very good Featherstone side.
“We’ve identified some areas we need to be better in, without sacrificing what has made us York over the recent seasons. These games do help get your players ready for the championship and enable the coaching staff to identify the best combinations & relationships across the squad.
“Apart from Ronan Dixon, all the players not selected should return imminently and play some minutes before the Toulouse fixture.
“We want to give ourselves the best opportunity coming into what will be a tough Championship season and get close to the standards we set ourselves heading into Round 1 – We want to go into that game in form.
We want to have a look at all the squad and I’m sure the supporters will be as eager as I am to see the new players settle in and see how the combinations are shaping up.
“These games throughout January give the players a real opportunity to force their way into the team for the Toulouse game – they will all be desperate to play in it – and they give the supporters opportunity to see what we’re about this year.
As well as debuts for new signings Will Sharp, Ben Johnston, Chris Clarkson, Danny Washbrook & James Green, Ford is set to give a run out to a number of trialists in this game after impressing him through pre-season, most notably York-born juniors players AJ Towse and Myles Harrison.
Ford said: “This is a great opportunity for York Rugby League to support these young men. To see AJ progress as he did under the stewardship of Will Leatt & Adam Prentis at the clubs EXCEL program was a delight – he consistently displayed mental attributes that I believe lead to a player becoming a good adult player.
“The senior group have had a huge impact on AJ and Myles, and likewise it’s been pleasurable to see a few of these youngsters grab a mini win against someone much more experienced.
York Acorn player of the year Lewis Brown will also make the step up into the pro arena, and is set to feature at both hooker and half.
Ford said: “Lewis has displayed a very positive attitude towards learning and has certainly got stuck into the contact elements of our preparation. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
“We’ve had a lot of fun in the first 6 weeks of our preseason, improving understanding, skill and physical abilities – now is time to really focus in and ensure we take more from the final 4 weeks than anyone else. I’m looking for character, resilience and a positive attitude from the boys.”
For Featherstone; Hall, Jouffret, Ferguson and Susino will all make their debuts against York, but Minns, Parata, Davies, Day, Ferres, Carey and Whylie are all out injured. Blackmore, Ferres, Worthington and Albert will all feature too alongside Bussey, Chisholm, Harrison and Lockwood. Rovers may be supplemented by some Dual Registration players from Leeds Rhinos on Sunday, but a final decision is yet to be made.
Some of the highly rated youngsters who are going to be playing for the hybrid Leeds/Fev 2020 reserves team will also get a run-out – such as French, Ottewell, Richardson and Wright, as well as the likes of Jake Sweeting and Jimmy Beckett.
Admission prices at Featherstone are £10 Adults & Concessions and £3 Juniors.
Knights squad from: Marsh, Wallis, Salter, Bass, Sharp, Johnston, Robinson, Teanby, Jubb, Clarkson, Porter, Scott, Spears (c). Subs: Brown (T), Washbrook, Stock, Green, Baldwinson, Bardle (T), Towse (T), Harrison (T).
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