GARY THORNTON is looking forward to seeing Lee Paterson don the York City Knights shirt again – believing his Scotland snub has put new fire in his belly.

Former club captain Paterson, 32, is back at Huntington Stadium after seven years away and is poised to take to the field on Sunday when Championship One rivals Gateshead visit for a pre-season friendly.

A product of New Earswick All Blacks, Paterson, was the Players’ Player of the Year in the Knights’ 2005 National League Two-title winning campaign, though his second year at the club was less happy as he skippered the team to relegation. The same fate befell Thornton’s men last year, but the head coach reckons his 32-year-old new recruit can play a big part as the club look to bounce straight back up.

“He was pretty disappointed about missing out on a Scotland place at the World Cup last autumn and I think that’s re-energised him,” he said.“I think he will be a great leader for us.”

Paterson is set to play at loose-forward on Sunday, while captain Jack Lee and George Elliott, who missed last weekend’s friendly at Castleford with slight injuries, are also poised to start, as is prop Jack Aldous following suspension.

Added Thornton: “Lee was pencilled in to play at Cas but got called into work at short notice.

“He’s really looking forward to playing. He’s been training really well and is a good guy to have around the place, with the young guys learning from him.”

Marquee signing Iain Morrison will not be in action, though, due to continued work commitments.

Thornton said: “He won’t feature until the friendly against Sheffield (on February 9).

“He’s still got commitments with his fitness business but it’s something we knew about when we signed him.”