Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Feather in cap sought by York City Knights
BUOYED by their last showing against Sheffield Eagles, York City Knights will have to bob up even more.
So declared Knights player-coach Chris Thorman ahead of tonight’s trip to crack Championship outfit Featherstone Rovers (kick-off 6pm).
The “tough gig” has been switched from the customary Sunday schedule as part of a Saturday night experiment requested by the hosts.
Thorman, though, was defiant, insisting his men could take ample encouragement from last week’s slender 25-18 home defeat to Sheffield Eagles.
Said the Knights leader: “Performance-wise we were not far off against the Eagles.
“Against a team that had put 50 points past us in the Challenge Cup, we showed a lot of improvement and so we can take a lot of positives from that recent match into tonight’s game.
“We are under no illusions that going to Featherstone is one of the toughest gigs in the Championship.
“They have had success recently in the Challenge Cup. They beat Castleford and then pushed hard against a Wigan side, who are the best in the country.
“While their league form slumped a bit because of their efforts in the Cup, I think that they will be back on track tonight, so we can expect nothing but a tough game.”
To counter the hosts’ strength the player-coach insisted: “We know we are going to have to up our game even more from the last showing against the Eagles.
“But we are capable of doing that, so we need to stay positive.”
Thorman explained how one of the immediate tasks was not to allow easy points for the opposition, a factor that led to potential success against Sheffield being replaced by a late defeat, adding: “We’ve got to make teams work harder to score points against us.”
With the Knights down to almost a bare bones selection due to injuries and unavailability, the player-coach said tonight’s line-up would effectively mirror that on duty against Sheffield.
That will mean another run-out for dual-registration recruit Ben Johnson at scrum-half.
The 19-year-old former York Acorn junior, whose parent club is Castleford, produced an eye-catching display on his home debut against Sheffield, mightily impressing the player-coach.
Said Thorman, who agreed how Johnson was a similar build to Leeds Rhinos titan Rob Burrows: “He may be small, but what I like about Ben is that he is game for anything. He takes the line on and is not frightened of getting tackled.
“He has a good attitude. He listens and he showed against Sheffield that he can organise and communicate. If he can have half as good a career as Rob then he won’t have done badly.”