York City Knights aim for Hunslet Hawks hat-trick

Jonny Presley, right, will re-form his half-back partnership with Pat Smith, left, after being recalled in place of the unavailable Ben Reynolds

Jonny Presley, right, will re-form his half-back partnership with Pat Smith, left, after being recalled in place of the unavailable Ben Reynolds

First published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by

YORK City Knights boss Gary Thornton insists his team will go all out for a Hawks hat-trick tomorrow - despite knowing a bonus point would be enough for top spot.

The Knights have already beaten arch-foes Hunslet home and away this term and go back to South Leeds Stadium for the “biggest game of the season” prior to the promotion play-offs.

They have been forced into changes, with Ben Reynolds and Brad Day called up by parent club Castleford, but Thornton says Jonny Presley is “chomping at the bit” to return at half-back for the first time since the June 8 trip to Gloucestershire - the team’s last defeat - while James Ford and Greg Minikin are back from injury.

And he remains confident they can get a third win over the second-placed Hawks to lay down a marker for the play-offs, and a ninth consecutive win to set a new Knights record.

A bonus point would mean they’d finish top with victory over London Skolars, but Thornton said: “We’re not going into it with a bonus-point mindset. We’re going for the three points, no doubt about it.”

Full-back James Haynes will be given every chance to pass fit after concussion, otherwise top-scorer Ben Dent will take the number one berth in a back-line reshuffle.

Austin Bell is fit again after seven games out and both he and fellow prop Jay Leary are in a provisional 20-man squad.

Many eyes, meanwhile, will be on Knights hooker Jack Lee after he penned a deal with Hunslet for 2015-16. Thornton added: “It might be awkward for him but he’s focused. He’s very honest and he’ll want to do his best and show Hunslet what they’re getting.”

Hawks prop James Houston fractured a hand last week so is out for a month, but Michael Haley and hooker Liam Hood are fit again and new boys Richard Moore, Luke Briscoe, Ross Peltier and James Duckworth come in.

Hunslet: from Watson, Kain, L Briscoe, Maun, Duffy, Grimshaw, T Coyle, Haley, March, Stenchion, Oakes, Mackay, J Coyle, Moore, Peltier, Brickwood, Broughton.

Knights: from Haynes, Saltonstall, Ford, Minikin, B Dent, Craig, Presley, P Smith, Roche, Lee, Aldous, E Smith, Mallinder, Paterson, Brining, Brennan, Tonks, Backhouse, Bell, Leary.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).

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