YORK City Knights are yet to firm up which Castleford Tigers players they will be able to get on dual-registration this season – but one player pencilled in to make the switch is exciting full-back Ben Reynolds.
The 20-year-old, who is equally at home at stand-off, made his Super League debut off the bench in Castleford’s win over Salford towards the end of last season, and has featured a fair bit in the Tigers’ pre-season matches, including the win over York last month, when he impressed after replacing former Knight Jordan Tansey.
He is being earmarked for a year in Championship One as he continues his development, and there was an outside chance he could even make his Knights bow this Sunday as Gary Thornton’s men take on York Select XIII in their final pre-season encounter before kicking off their campaign at home to Gloucestershire All Golds on March 2.
Thorton, who coached Reynolds while heading up Castleford’s academy, said the youngster would be a great addition – although he stressed he would not simply walk into York’s team.
“It’s competition for places,” said Thornton. “He will have to come in and prove himself and work in our structures. He’s played three off-season games for Cas and looked good but it would be harsh on our guys to bring him straight in.
“He would bring good utility value but he will have to work with us and do well and we’ll take it from there.
“He’s a good player and a good lad. He was one of the young kids pushed up from the under-18s to the U21s when I was there – he was highly rated even then.”
Thornton is more wary of the pitfalls of dual-reg following last year’s experiences, when players from Hull, then York’s partner club, came with questionable attitudes. The Airlie Birds also kept some players back when they were expected to be available.
Added the head coach: “We want to avoid the Hull scenario and make sure these lads come in for the right reasons and want to play for York.
“We want to help Cas and help their players, but it has to be right for York City Knights.”
There will definitely be a Knights bow on Sunday for marquee signing Iain Morrison, who is finally available to play after work commitments, while Lee Paterson, another key recruit, is set to start. Another main man, Jason Golden, the new club captain, will also make a welcome appearance after a near year-long injury absence.
Skipper Jack Lee will also be okay to play as his thumb injury suffered against Sheffield was not serious.
The only absentees are Jack Iley, with his elbow problem suffered in the warm-up to the Cas game, Nathan Harper, who has had more medical tests after suffering glandular fever, and Nathan Freer, who is unavailable due to college and backroom staff commitments with Hull’s U19s.
The club are hopeful Iley and Harper could play in the U20s match against Sheffield next Thursday.