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Danny Nicklas returns to York City Knights
DANNY NICKLAS is coming back to York City Knights on a season-long loan deal – much to the delight of new boss Gary Thornton.
The half-back, pictured, becomes the first named player from Hull FC to be assigned to the Knights’ 2013 ranks as part of the new partnership between the clubs.
He will remain full-time with the Black and Whites in pre-season theoretically with a view to earning a place in Peter Gentle’s Super League side, but, should he remain on the fringes as is likely, he will then come to York.
“I’m delighted we’ve got him,” said Thornton of the 21-year-old, who played two games for York on dual-registration last season.
“He’s a quality player. York fans probably saw the value he brings to the team in his short spell last season. If we get him on a more permanent, or semi-permanent basis, I think we’ll see even more from him.”
Nicklas’ spell at Huntington Stadium was a stop-start-stop affair as he arrived on dual-reg in June, making an impressive debut in the Knights’ only win of the Championship season, against Swinton, but played only once more before being recalled to the KC Stadium for either first-team back-up or U20s reserve-grade action.
Any talk he would be made available again never materialised, much to York’s chagrin, but the Knights are optimistic there will be no new will-he-won’t-he saga.
Firstly, the long loan agreement this time ties him to York for the first month of the season and, while Hull could recall him at any point thereafter, the switch in the Super League reserve-grade academy format from under-20s to U19s theoretically means fewer dual-reg or loan players will be called back to parent clubs.
Injuries in the ranks could still see a loan end prematurely, but Hull’s recruitment of Salford stand-off Daniel Holdsworth, to go with Brett Seymour, Richard Horne and occasional playmaker Aaron Heremaia ostensibly pushes Nicklas further down their pecking order.
Said Thornton: “I was keen to make sure it was a season-long loan. With it being a pivotal position, it was important to get commitment from Hull that it would be long-term.
“It gives us extra options at half-back with Simon Brown and Jonny Presley and, with Jack Lee at hooker, we’ve now got options at nine, six and seven.”
As part of the partnership, up to five Hull players will be able to turn out for York each week, with Airlie Birds coach Peter Gentle deciding which to make available – but without taking away Thornton’s autonomy at Huntington Stadium.
Hull presently have a full-time first-team squad of 30 with 28 ineligible for the U19s reserves. Assuming they name a 19-man match-day squad, nine players could be freed up for York consideration, barring injuries in the ranks.
Among those who could feasibly come into contention for Knights duty are Tom Lineham, the speedy winger who began his career at Huntington Stadium, fellow winger Jack Briscoe, and centre Ben Crooks, son of former Great Britain prop and one-time York Wasps coach Lee Crooks.