‘Knights future out of my hands’ says Gary Thornton

Gary Thornton

Gary Thornton

First published in Sport
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GARY THORNTON admits his long-term future is uncertain at York City Knights - even if he leads the club back up and into the new-look Super League 2.

Thornton's two-year deal as head coach at Huntington Stadium expires in November and, while the 52-year-old would like to renew his contract, he admits it isn't likely to get sorted out any time soon and may only be concluded at the end of the season.

He says he is instead focusing solely on promotion from Championship One - which could be a make-or-break factor.

"It's out of my hands at the moment," said Thornton when asked if recruitment plans for 2015 were to begin any time soon.

"I don't know if I will be here. I hope I will be, but my contract goes up until November and we will have to see where John Guildford (chairman) wants to go from there."

As for the likelihood of contract talks, Thornton added: "John has other issues at the moment, with the new stadium and things like that, and he's trying to work on that so has a lot on his plate.

"For me it's a case of let's just focus on getting promoted, and I've left it at that.

"In that sense it's up in the air at the moment. John has set his stall out. We want to get promoted. He's made the targets pretty clear for the season and I obviously hope we achieve those targets.

"I'm focusing week in week out on getting results and getting better.

"I have to think of my own future at some stage. I would like to stay at York but at this point in time we're just focusing on the job in hand, which is getting promoted."

Planning for 2015 will soon be starting in earnest at other Championships clubs, but the Knights may have to play catch-up regarding recruitment, unable to commit until they know for certain which division they will be in - and who will be in charge.

Nevertheless, Thornton reckons the bulk of his improving young squad should be ready for the rigours of Championship-standard rugby league next term if they do go up.

"A lot of Championship-quality players will be signed before then (November) so we know we can't leave it too late, but it's difficult," he said.

"But I would think most of the squad we have here this season will be good enough to compete at Championship level next year. A lot of the younger players have grown together and if we can keep the majority of the the squad we will be able to compete.

"There has been a lot of work in the background bringing players through like James Morland, Greg Minikin, Harry Carter, Ben and Adam Dent. Pat Smith has been a great addition too, and Lee Paterson. It would be good to keep them here and build on that.

"We have been trying to build for the future. That's been my intention. Whether I'm in charge of that team (next year) remains to be seen."

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