LUCKLESS York City Knights ace Mark Cain was today praying that his season was not over as soon as it begun.

As reported by the Evening Press, the fans' favourite suffered torn ligaments in his right knee not long after entering the fray as a substitute in the first game of the 2006 season, the Northern Rail Cup match against Hull Kingston Rovers on Sunday.

The utility star had only just returned from serious shoulder surgery which kept him out of the game for ten months, but is now fearing he might be forced to miss the bulk of a second successive season.

"It's very gutting," he said. "It's one of those things I suppose. I've not had a lot of luck with injuries in the last year or so."

Cain was to have the injury checked out today but, although swelling will probably delay a detailed diagnosis, the 29-year-old said he knew immediately he had suffered serious medial ligament damage.

"I got my foot caught under someone's leg and got pushed the wrong way," he explained, saying he felt the knee joint grind painfully straight away.

Such injuries could take anything between two months and a year to heal with the help of physiotherapy, depending on how bad the tear.

Cain, who has suffered his fair share of knee injuries throughout his career, nevertheless backed his team-mates to do the business with or without him following the brave showing against trophy holders Hull KR.

The Knights lost 32-2 but only after having Jamie Bovill controversially sent off five minutes into the game. They kept the score down to 8-2 at half-time but Rovers used the extra man to notch four second-half tries.

"We played it tough," he said. "It's probably been as tough as we've defended for a long time and that's including last season.

"If we're going to use this game as a yardstick, we've competed with a side that is full-time and the lads can take a lot of heart from that. If we had our full complement of players then the game would have been a lot closer.

"Defending with 12 men for so long will take its toll. If we had controlled the ball as we would have liked we could have played a bit smarter but you could not fault the effort and togetherness we showed. Hopefully that will bode well for the season."

Updated: 09:36 Tuesday, February 14, 2006