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Chris Thorman forced into adopting York City Knights youth policy
Heworth ARLC junior Tyler Craig made a surprise Championship debut in last week’s loss at Keighley on a day when another 18-year-old, Ollie Olds, also debuted after arriving on dual- registration from Leeds.
Fellow teenager Kris Brining was also called up from the reserves and another young gun, Ed Smith, returned from injury earlier than planned.
Now, with the loss to injury of captain James Ford, plus the departure of Jordan Tansey, which is close to being confirmed, player-boss Thorman has been left with even fewer options other than to delve deep into playing resources for the last five games of the season – starting with the visit of title hopefuls Leigh tomorrow (3pm).
He will even be without Craig, who has to train with England Lions U18s ahead of their two-match tour of Lebanon.
“I saw Paul Rowley (Leigh coach) was quoted saying they’re down to the bare bones,” said Thorman.“I’d have to argue with that. He should come and coach York – I’ll show him what bare bones is.
“We’ve 13 or 14 players unavailable and we had a shed-load who didn’t train on Tuesday because of niggles.
“Even getting a reserves side together (on Thursday) was a struggle.
“We’ve had to look at a couple of lads doubling up – we don’t want to do that, but if you don’t field them in the reserves, we won’t have a reserves team.
“It’s amazing really. We gave Tyler his debut – and he did a great job all things considered – and now he’s not allowed to play this weekend.
“I don’t want to stop him going on tour – I have fond memories of doing that myself and it’s good for him – but it sums up our luck.
“It’s another player we have to do without, and he’s someone we didn’t think would play as many games in the reserves as he has this year, never mind be called up to the first team.”
Giving more youngsters a go could be beneficial for York in the long-term, especially with no threat of relegation this year, but Thorman is fearful of being forced into doing so rather than playing them “on the club’s terms”.
Said the 31-year-old, who is to join Huddersfield at the end of the season: “I’d like to blood a few. Gareth Poutney is an example. I’d like to have a look at him for the club’s benefit going forward. We need to find out if they’re capable and we’re in a situation where we have nothing to lose.
“But the circumstances have to be right. I don’t want to throw a load out there and say, ‘There you go, you’re playing Featherstone, good luck.’ “You have to look at development and giving some lads an insight into first-team football. This season was always about preparing towards a stronger 2013.
“But at the same time they have to be up to it. We’re playing some good teams, and I’d like to be in a position to bring them in on our terms, not because we have no other option.”
Among those who didn’t train on Tuesday were Paul King, Jack Lee, Dario Esposito, Smith and Brining.
Tansey, meanwhile, is being released early ahead of his 2013 switch to Castleford so he can register with the Tigers and have minor knee surgery through them and be ready for their pre-season.
As for Leigh, who ended a three-match losing run by thrashing Dewsbury 50-6 last week, Thorman said: “Their performance the last time we played them was probably the best by a Championship side I’ve seen this year. They’ve got good intensity, smart ball players, people who can kick well, a good strong pack – I don’t see many weaknesses. We know we’ll have to be on our game to compete.”
The Centurions are also likely to welcome back Bob Beswick and Macgraff Leuluai from injury and Tom Spencer on dual-reg, while Dean McGilvray will be assessed after concussion last week.
Knights : to be confirmed.
Leigh : from McNally, Maden, Mendeika, Gardner, McGilvray, Ridyard, Duffy, Thornley, Nicholson, Parker, Littler, Goulden, Hopkins, Brierley, Henderson, Briscoe, Gallagher, Beswick, Leuluai, Spencer.