JAMES HAYNES will miss the start of York City Knights’ Championship One campaign after a freak accident in training left him in hospital with a worrying neck injury.

The full-back slipped awkwardly in a collision with a team-mate during contact work last night and, although he trained on, he complained of neck pains and was taken by ambulance with his neck in a brace.

X-rays showed no broken bones but, because of a troublesome crick in his neck, plus the fact he has had previous neck and back injuries, doctors kept him in and were to carry out more tests today. A hospital spokeswoman said he was to be discharged and allowed home this afternoon though could not give details of the injury.

Knights boss Gary Thornton said: “The physios and the ambulance people were very good. It was a freak accident. he fell awkwardly during a drill and somebody fell into him and caught him. He carried on training but afterwards he’s there with a neck brace on.

“We haven’t heard yet how bad it is but we’re hoping it was a case of erring on the side of caution rather than it being serious.”

Haynes' absence means the Knights will begin their season at home to Gloucestershire All Golds on Sunday with no fewer than 11 players sidelined.

Haynes joins James Ford (hamstring), Jonny Presley (hamstring), Jack Pickles (groin), Tom Rogers (ribs), Sam Orange (knee), Jack Iley (elbow), Josh Nathaniel (ankle) and Curtis Macdonald (leg) on the treatment table, while Nathan Harper is coming back illness and Jack Aldous is suspended.