York City Knights set for ‘no-win’ opener

York Press: Gary Thornton ahead of his first Huntington Stadium mission Gary Thornton ahead of his first Huntington Stadium mission

YORK CITY Knights are on a “hiding to nothing” in Sunday’s game against the York Select side, reckons boss Gary Thornton.

The professionals take on the cream of the city’s amateur game in the head coach’s first game in charge of a radically altered outfit at Huntington Stadium and he believes it is a “no-win situation” for his team.

Thornton said: “People expect us to win comfortably and if we don’t there will be questions about what we have been doing. This is the our first time together, we will be a bit rusty and we have a lot of new players and new combinations.

“Our six, seven and nine have not played together before and we will have to keep it simple. They will have a point to prove.

“I’ve been involved in these games in the past and they are always very tough, aggressive up front and we will have to match that aggression.

“We have done a lot of work on our defence and with collisions and I expect us to be strong in that area.

“It’s an unknown quantity. I don’t know anything about the players, I have never seen any of them play, although I have asked Mick Ramsden to fill me in on those he knows about.

“It’s a tough environment but we have to concentrate on getting our own act together and on our own defensive work.

“We are on a hiding to nothing but we are going into it with our eyes wide open. We will try to handle anything they throw at us.”

With the weather also expected to play its part – the December deluges over the past few weeks leaving the Huntington Stadium pitch in a heavy condition – the task doesn’t get any easier for Thornton and his new charges.

But, as he finally prepares to see his side in competitive action for the first time since his appointment to the head coach role was announced last July, Thornton also admitted to great excitement at the task ahead.

“The weather is a leveller and that is always the case,” he added.

“It is probably better for them than it would be for us – without being disrespectful – and even if we have a couple of dry days there is that much water in the ground that it will be fairly heavy.

“We have kept away from the pitch and we expect it to be in reasonable condition.

“It drains pretty well. It’s had a few months without any activity on it but we are expecting the worst (from the weather and conditions).

“That said, you might have to deal with these conditions in February at Whitehaven.”

Added Thornton: “It’s really exciting. It’s my first game in charge, back at Huntington Stadium in front of a fairly big crowd, and there is a lot of expectation. Hopefully we will deliver.”

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