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Chris Thorman’s York City Knights farewell
CHRIS THORMAN had been hoping to have four big-guns back for his “emotional” last stand – the wooden spoon decider against arch-rivals Hunslet which happens to be the final game of his illustrious career.
He might have to settle for two, though, as York City Knights ’ injury woes continue right to the end of term.
Player-boss Thorman, who hangs up his boots for good after tomorrow’s game (3pm) before joining Huddersfield’s coaching staff, has played down the importance of the clash but privately is desperate not to finish the season – and his playing career – on a downer and at the foot of the table.
To that end he is to give captain James Ford until the last minute to prove his fitness – the centre hadn’t trained at all before last night since damaging ankle ligaments in mid-July – while hoping Paul King could overcome his various injuries for one last push this year.
The likelihood, however, is that neither will feature, although hooker Jack Lee and full-back Tom Bush are set to return.
Neither team will be relegated due to the Championships’ restructuring, and both Thorman and Hawks boss Barry Eaton have said both clubs’ focus has long since turned to 2013. But the ignominy of finishing last is clearly something to be avoided – especially for the Geordie on his grand farewell.
“The media can call it a wooden spoon clash but you don’t literally get a wooden spoon,” said Thorman.
“I don’t want to see myself at the bottom and that’s certainly motivation. But at the same time, putting things in perspective, the last two months, with all the injuries we’ve had, have been about giving boys opportunities and I think these under-18s lads have done themselves proud.“The team we finished with at Batley last time out featured a lot of York-based players and young players who have been in the U18s and reserves.
“They’ll be better off for playing these games, against tough opposition as well, although there will be a bit more pressure on them to perform in this match.
“At the beginning of the week I was hopeful of getting some more experienced players back. Kingy’s definitely a no-go and I’m not holding out much hope for James Ford, but Jack Lee, pictured, and Tom came through training unscathed and it’s great to have them back.
“Tom has had a great second half to the season and Jack is one of our more experienced players and he’s a ball-player as well, which will help me a lot.”
To put the icing on the injury cake, Tyler Craig, the last of a long line of lads to fill the half-back role alongside Thorman, overcame concussion at Batley only to tear ankle ligaments in training.
Another of the youngsters making the step up to the Champion-ship, full-back Ben Dent, is also ruled out due to the neck injury picked up against the Bulldogs.
Having exhausted all his playmaking options, Thorman will be the only half-back in the Knights team and is poised to rehash the experiment of playing with two “running-backs” in Bush, from full-back, and three-quarter George Elliott, who reprises the role taken by Ford for three games earlier in the year.
Thorman added: “Hunslet are our nearest rivals and we obviously want to beat them. If we get a couple of experienced players back I think we’re capable of winning. At the same time, Hunslet’s performances have improved and we do have an inexperienced squad.
“We’ve prepared as well as we have done in the last few weeks and we’re looking forward to it.”
When questioned further about his personal reasons for not losing, he said: “I don’t want to finish bottom. I’m a natural competitor. It’s my last game. I want to end my career in a fitting way with a win and I’ll be doing everything in my power to do that.
“It’s probably going to be emotional – but I have to keep a lid on that and focus on the job at hand.”