Knights coach’s new-look squad making great pre-season strides

York City Knights coach  Gary Thornton

York City Knights coach Gary Thornton

Published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

THE York City Knights camp is “buzzing” after only three weeks of pre-season training, according to coach Gary Thornton.

The new boss has been putting his freshly-assembled squad through their paces at York St John University’s Nestlé Rowntree Park ahead of the 2013 campaign.

And a delighted Thornton said: “Training has been fantastic and I can only praise the attitude of the boys.

“We’ve worked them hard and they have responded. I’m really happy with the way it’s going.

“We are only in the third week and things are going well. The new facility at York St John is working out well.”

Despite the positive initial signs in training, Thornton stressed it was early days for his new-look squad.

“It’s only pre-season and everybody is a champion in pre-season,” he said. “We just want to get everything right for when the games start.

“As you approach the season, everyone just wants to get started. Everyone is buzzing.”

In the first three weeks of training, the Knights’ ranks have been swelled by the addition of trialists Lee Nobbs and Jake Joynt.

Winger Nobbs, 22, scored eight tries in 22 appearances for National Conference League premier division outfit Skirlaugh last season and has been recommended by Hull-based Knights prop Austin Bell.

Former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats prop Joynt, meanwhile, is poised to win a first-team deal at Huntington Stadium having been a victim of the Rugby Football League decision to scrap Super League’s under-20s competition.

Thornton is keen to give both players a chance at Co-operative Championship level, backing his belief that late developers should not be shut out of the game’s upper echelons.

“Lots of people develop late and that’s why I’m not a fan of scrapping the under-20s competition,” he said.

“It’s a hasty decision because there are a lot of people who come through and develop later in life. You can’t write anyone off, you need to give them a chance.”

On the amateur game, Thornton added: “There is a lot of talent out there and some people find themselves playing at that level through no fault of their own.”

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