CLUB chiefs have clarified that Jake Butler-Fleming IS a York City Knights player - even though he is set to play for former team Hull Kingston Rovers this weekend.

The Aussie centre played five times on loan for the Knights from partner club Hull KR last year before signing permanently for the ambitious League One outfit last month.

However, he has been named in the Robins' squad that takes on Hull FC in a pre-season Humberside derby on Sunday (2pm).

Knights chairman Jon Flatman explained that head coach James Ford is allowing Butler-Fleming, who turned 26 this week, to don the Rovers jersey again in order to get game-time following his recent arrival back in the country from his native Australia.

And he can do so under rules - similar to dual-registration regulations - that allow players to turn out for partner clubs in pre-season fixtures, be it the lower- or higher-ranked outfit.

Indeed, the Hull FC line-up also includes two players from their partner club, Doncaster, including stand-off Liam Harris, who ironically starred for the Knights last year on dual-reg from Hull KR.

Flatman made it clear Butler-Fleming is under contract at York.

He explained: "Jake is a York City Knights-registered player who is contracted to the club until the end of 2018 season.

"Dual-reg allows players to represent lower-tier partner clubs, but the rules for pre-season also allow for players to play for a partner club either lower-tier or higher-tier.

"The rationale is that Jake is coming back from injury, he's missed two of our pre-season games having been back in Australia, and James think he will benefit from having a run-out."

Butler-Fleming's 2017 campaign was cut short by a knee complaint for which he has since undergone surgery, followed by time back home down under.

He landed back in England ahead of York's game at Hull KR last Sunday but, while Ford had initially planned not to play him until their last outing of pre-season against Hunslet at the end of this month, giving him time to acclimatise, the head coach now believes a run-out would be timely, with the Aussie having proven his fitness in training both in York and Hull.

Added Flatman: "We don't have a fixture this weekend so it doesn't conflict with our games. Jake knows the Hull KR environment, and it's a good-quality game to play in. We think it's a good thing."

The Knights' next friendly is at Championship big-guns Featherstone Rovers next Sunday, followed by the Hunslet game on January 28.

Their League One season then kicks off with that humdinger against fallen giants Bradford Bulls at Bootham Crescent on Sunday, February 18.