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Chris Green and John Davies give green light to York City Knights
CHRIS THORMAN is hoping the returns of dual-reg forwards Chris Green and John Davies will give York City Knights the extra oomph necessary to get them off the mark tomorrow.
The Knights have gone nine games without a win in the Co-operative Championship, not helped by injury woes and recalls to their parent clubs of Hull’s Green and Castleford’s Davies, along with Warrington duo Ben Hellewell and Brooke Broughton.
This has often left Thorman’s squad with an inexperienced and untested bench.
However, March Player of the Month Green resumes his Knights spell tomorrow, and Davies is fit to play again, and, when coupled with the return to the team of Waine Pryce after a 13-game injury absence, plus the arrival of dual-reg half-back Danny Nicklas, Thorman reckons the additional strength in depth will help his side curtail their losing run.
They get that chance tomorrow when Swinton Lions, promoted last season and currently lying only two spots above bottom club York, come to Monks Cross (3pm).
“If our starts to matches continue like they are going, we can now rotate our middle men more effectively with the bench we will have,” said Thorman.
“Hopefully that will go some way to contributing to a win.”
Pryce, who has been sidelined since suffering a partial rupture of a quad muscle in the Northern Rail Cup win over Swinton in February, when he pulled up in the act of scoring his second try in two games since his off-season switch from Hunslet, was set to have a run in the reserves on Thursday, only for that game to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
He is nevertheless expected to go straight into the starting 13 tomorrow.
“We’ve missed him a lot,” said Thorman.
“It’s been a long time but he’s trained for the last three weeks and he’s trained well.
“It was not ideal with the reserves being called off – we would obviously have liked him to have a run-out first – but he’s more than capable of coming back in.
“I’m not worried about his quad. It’s more his match fitness. But the only way he’ll get it is playing first-team games.”
He added: “I now have a decision to make about who to leave out in the outside backs. It’s nice to be in a situation where I can leave a good player out.”
Thorman does, however, have fitness concerns over packmen James Houston and Ed Smith, the former with his ongoing nerve/leg problem and the latter with shoulder trouble. They are both named in a provisional 19-man party for tomorrow’s game, with Thorman saying: “Even if they’re not all right, we’ve still got a decent 17.”
The Knights beat Swinton 30-22 in the Northern Rail Cup but a 32-12 reverse away to the Lions has been part of losing streak in the league.
Thorman – who, as previously revealed by The Press is looking forward to forming another new half-back partnership, this time with Hull starlet Nicklas – added: “I did not think we were very good last time we played them and we definitely need to improve on that.”
Swinton second-row Darren Hawkyard will face a fitness test on his hamstring before the Lions, otherwise virtually at full strength, finalise their squad.
Boss Steve McCormack, whose side were pipped 24-18 by Halifax last time out, said of York: “They offer quite a few threats. They were excellent in the early part of their game against Keighley (last time out), and they’ve big players in Chris Thorman, Paul King and Jordan Tansey, as well as plenty of others who can play very well.
“Their league position does not reflect their performances.”
On his own side, McCormack said: “We’ve been consistent and we’ve shown we can compete when we play at our full potential. We’ve been pipped at the post a few times. I’m content, but we can do better.”
Turnstiles open at 1.30pm, though ticket holders can access Bar 13 from 12.30pm. Season ticket holders can bring a friend to this match for a reduced price of £10 using the voucher in the back of the booklet.
Knights: from Tansey, Bush, Pryce, Elliott, Garside, Ford, Thorman, Nicklas, Sullivan, Aldous, Lee, Davies, Clarke, King, Smith, Turner, Green, Freer, Houston.
Swinton (possible): R Hawkyard, Dodd, Higson, Armstrong, Penny, Ainscough, Watson, Walker, Smith, Forster, Cunniffe, D Hawkyard, I’Anson. Subs: Morrison, Mills, Riley, Ashall.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven). Kick-off: 3pm.