YORK City Knights head coach James Ford says the idea of a big Ladbrokes Challenge Cup upset at Bootham Crescent tomorrow hasn't even crossed his mind.

The Knights face amateur neighbours York Acorn ARLC in a third round tie (3pm), and head into it as obvious huge favourites - 25/1-on with bookmakers, with the Blue and Golds rated 9/1 rank outsiders. The pro club have a 24-point start on handicap coupons too.

But Ford said neither favouritism nor the fear of failure has affected the team's usual pre-match preparation.

"We're a very focused group. We're used to this kind of thing," said Ford, referring to League One matches against expansion club outsiders.

"It could be easy to take things for granted but we didn't do that last year. We prepared for every game thoroughly and focused on us and our applications, and that's what we're doing for this game.

"No I've not thought about what would happen if we lost. That doesn't come into it.

"York Acorn are by no means easy-beats. They're a good team with a good coach and good players. They will also be fired up and have a real good go at us.

"We know that and we know we have to be on our game, as we do for any match."

Ford's class of 2015 comfortably saw off amateurs Featherstone Lions and Leigh Miners Rangers 58-8 and 44-14 respectively in last year's cup run.

But he is well aware of what the cup can throw up, having been in the York team - albeit before going off injured midway through the first half - that so very nearly lost to National Conference club Blackbrook in 2013, when they needed a last-minute Tom Carr try to scrape a 26-24 win by the skin of their teeth.

Furthermore, tomorrow's tie has caught the imagination of the rugby league public more than those games, with a notable four-figure crowd - and potentially the biggest attendance of the Challenge Cup weekend - expected.

Added Ford: "It will be a different type of test for us. I imagine the majority of the public in and around York, and in the rugby league world, will want the story of an upset.

"We dealt with it twice last year when we played Featherstone Lions and Leigh Miners, when people were wishing for us to slip up.

"We need to make sure we're on our game physically and mentally, and that's what we're focusing on."

Ford has been forced into making three changes from the side that started the season well with the 24-4 iPro Sport Cup win at Hunslet Hawks.

As reported this week, forwards Russ Spiers and Brad Nicholson are out with injury, meaning the team will be shorn of some pack power, while winger Nev Morrison is heading off to Australia.

But Kriss Brining is back, having been left out of last week's side following the big-money bid from Featherstone Rovers, and he will start at hooker, allowing Mike Emmett to go into his favourite position at loose-forward.

Adam Dent replaces Morrison, while fit-again threequarter Tyler Craig also goes onto the bench.

Brining, Dent and Craig are all York-based players - a "happy coincidence" for this all-York clash, according to Ford.

"I've picked the best team available, and where they're from hasn't come into it," said Ford, whose 17-man squad also features fellow homegrown stars in James Morland and captain-for-the-day Ed Smith, the former Acorn junior.

"It's always good to have local players in a team but that does not bear any significance when I select a 17. All my players are proud to put the York shirt on."

Knights (probable): Wilkinson, A Dent, Morland, Bower, Turner, Presley, Nicklas, Applegarth, Brining, Aldous, E Smith, Mallinder, Emmett. Subs: Carter, Waller, Tonks, Craig. Stand-by: Buchanan, B Dent.