No repeat of defeat at Cheltenham says York City Knights coach Gary Thornton

Lee Paterson is poised to return to the Knights’ starting 13 having recently been used off the bench since returning from injury

Lee Paterson is poised to return to the Knights’ starting 13 having recently been used off the bench since returning from injury

First published in Sport
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GARY THORNTON insists York City Knights will travel to Cheltenham with no trepidation despite it being the scene of their last defeat.

The Knights threw away a 16-0 lead as they were shocked 24-22 by Gloucestershire All Golds on their first visit to the Prince of Wales Stadium.

Thornton, though, says his on-form side will be more than capable or righting the wrongs of that day, boosted by their six-game unbeaten run since then, which includes four wins on the long road south.

"It was not a good day for us," said Thornton of their June 8 nightmare. "Austin Bell getting sent off leaving us with 12 men for the last 30 minutes didn't help and we had a couple of people carrying knocks - Tyler Craig and James Morland who was virtually on one leg.

"But we didn't play particularly well and giving up a 16-point is unforgivable at any level.

"We know it will be tough. Steve McCormack (All Golds coach) made a big difference when he went there and, while they've lost a couple of games since going on that good run, he will have them revved up and looking for improvement and getting one over on us again. We've got to make sure that doesn't happen.

"It holds no fear for us. Having been there before makes us better prepared.

"Our experience away at South Wales, Oxford, Hemel and London has put us in better stead. There will be no surprises. We're used to these long journeys and we know what to expect.

"We will have to improve on our last performance there but we have been doing that every week since then and I'm confident we can get stronger. That's the aim heading towards the play-offs - to get stronger with each game."

Thornton was leaving it late to decide his line-up, naming a provisional 21-man squad heading into the weekend.

It includes Josh Tonks, the new signing from Dewsbury, as Thornton contemplates throwing him straight into the 17, most probably as a substitute.

Lee Paterson is poised to start in the pack, in the only probable change to the starting 13 that began the big win over title rivals Oldham last time out.

Jay Leary drops out of the 13 and may even miss out on the 17 as in-form on-loan prop Brad Brennan returns from his two-game ban.

Jonny Presley, patiently awaiting a return given the ongoing good form of half-backs Pat Smith and Ben Reynolds, is also included in the 21, as is Craig.

Thornton, meanwhile, was hopeful the weekend off will have done his charges good.

"I think it has helped," he said. "You never quite know how they'll come back in after a break but training was really good this week.

"They've had a tough seven weeks. Five out of the seven games were long journeys away from home, as is this one, and we had Gateshead at home which wasn't easy and then the Oldham clash.

"Recharging batteries I think has been good ahead of the final push."

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