NEW additions Russ Dale and Jack Iley will have to wait and see if their opening hit-out for York City Knights will come in Sunday’s pre-season clash against the York Select team at Huntington Stadium.
Head coach Gary Thornton has brought in former Wakefield prop Dale and hooker-cum-loose forward Iley on trial and has been taking a close look at both in training with a view to offering them terms.
But with only two trialists permitted in friendly matches, and with Jake Joynt and Lee Nobbs also battling for a contract, Thornton said he is likely to play one pair on Sunday and the other against North Wales Crusaders at home on January 13.
The Knights chief is excited at his latest moves and reckons they are likely to fit in well with his plans.
“I have coached Russ before at Wakefield,” he said. “He has had a bit of bad luck with injuries in the last couple of years when his season was cut short on both occasions. He is just looking for an opportunity to get back into it.
“I know what I have got with him. He is a big strong lad.
“Jack is a back rower who has come from Featherstone. He was part of the Under-23s but, with the restriction to U20s, his game time would be limited at Fev because he is an open age player. I’ve had a chat with them and they are happy to release him so he can try his luck in the Championship.
“He was on the fringes of the first team. He’s got a good pedigree, he was well coached there and I like what I see. Hopefully, he can be a good addition for us.
“We are quite light at loose forward and he is a good option who can play at 13.
“There is good quality about both these young men who come with the right attitude and will fit into what we are trying to achieve.”
Having given his team some time off over Christmas and with the weather continuing to hinder preparations, Thornton added he will roll out a “simple” game plan at the weekend as he looks to record a win in his first game in charge of the squad.
“It (the weather) does affect what quality we can get out of it,” he explained. “We have the gym facility at Haxby Road and that has been a godsend. We have been able to do some strength and conditioning work. We had a good session on the field on Saturday.
“We played as near as we could to a full-on contact game – 13 versus 13 – and conditions weren’t the best. It does spoil the quality of possession. On Sunday we were at University of York on the 3G pitch and did some quality work.
“We gave them the week off at Christmas. Training went really well, the approach and the effort was really good, and we came back and had a good weekend training. We will have a couple of sessions (this week) but we will keep it really simple.
“It’s a new group of players and it will take us time to get to know each other. It will be a fairly simple game plan and, hopefully, we will win the game.”