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Knights coach Chris Thorman plans ahead
YORK City Knights’ playing budget for 2013 might be uncertain but they can start player recruitment for next season from a position of stability following assurances over player-boss Chris Thorman’s job.
The club have set out a provisional budget for next term and, although suggestions they are to splash the cash more than this year have been played down, chairman John Guildford has confirmed Thorman will be the man to lead the 2013 team, despite only picking up his first Co-operative Championship win at the tenth attempt last Sunday.
The 31-year-old replaced Dave Woods at the helm in the winter and, while his position has rarely been in question, mutterings of discontent on the terraces were growing ahead of Sunday’s defeat of Swinton, which lifted the Knights off the foot of the table.
The club’s status is not under threat, though, with a restructuring of the game meaning there is no relegation from the Championship this term. Thorman’s status is likewise untroubled.
He is under contract until the end of 2013 with an option for a third year, and Guildford said: “He will definitely be here next season.”
Five other players – props Adam Sullivan and Nathan Freer, hookers Jack Lee and Brett Turner, and back-row Ed Smith – are also already contracted for 2013. As regards who will join them, Guildford, Thorman and general manager Ian Wilson met last week to discuss the issue.
Thorman said via a club statement yesterday: “We had a positive meeting and the club have really signalled their intent for next season.
“We will start talking to players this week and we hope to have some positive news in the upcoming weeks.”
Players contracted elsewhere can only be approached at the end of the season but offers will go out over the next few weeks to players on the Huntington Stadium books whom the club want to retain.
Thorman added: “There are still a number of players in the current squad who we have not yet decided on and they have between now and the end of the season to impress.”
The Press revealed in April that the playing budget that affects mid- season recruitment had plummeted 30 per cent this year. This was due to falls in attendances, Lancealotto lottery income, and sponsorship.
However, it is hoped the appointment of a new commercial manager, renewed optimism over performances and the threat of relegation will lift those figures.
As regards this “signal of intent” for 2013, details of the new budget are not being made public, but The Press understands Thorman will have a similar amount of cash to what was available this year, with a little extra depending on income.
Guildford said: “We’re looking to sign players we want to keep and identify players we’d like to bring to the club, and we’re going to see how season tickets and sponsorship go and how much we can bring in through the squad builder fund before finalising a budget.
“The squad builder was great for us last year and we have to take off our hats to the fans for that.”
• The Knights reserves host Oldham tonight (8pm), with Jack Stearman making his return from injury while Joe Hemmings, Dave Sutton, Adam Howard and Kris Brining are also included.
Stearman, yet to break into the first team this term, passed a fitness test last Thursday only for that night’s game against Featherstone to be called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
Selby Warriors duo Ben Harris and Wayne Fennell, having been pencilled in last week, will don the Knights shirt for the first time tonight.
Entry is free for Knights season-ticket holders and vice-presidents, or £4 for adults and £1 for under-16s. Entry is via Bar 13.
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