BOSS James Ford insists York City Knights were not considering next weekend's crunch clash with Oldham until first getting this Sunday's match at relative minnows Coventry Bears out of the way.

The game at Butts Park Arena (3pm) is in severe doubt because of the Arctic weather, with the East Midlands club saying it was "highly unlikely" that it will go ahead. A pitch inspection was to take place tomorrow.

However, Ford says his team's focus will remain on the Bears until the game is either postponed or played, even though a tough run of League One fixtures is around the corner, starting at the relegated Roughyeds seven days later.

"Not at all," said Ford when asked if he had even a part of an eye looking at the trip to Lancashire, which is followed in March by games against fellow promotion hopefuls Keighley and Doncaster, plus the Challenge Cup tie against Swinton.

"We've got a lot of respect for Coventry. There are 26 rounds to play and we have to take each one as it comes and be as consistent as we can be to accrue as many points as possible.

"Having a look around the corner at future opposition is disrespectful to your immediate opposition and you can pay for that. We have to respect Coventry and we do respect them."

That respect seems to be reflected in Ford's team selection, with former Hull KR stars Ben Cockayne and Graeme Horne back in the 19-man squad after missing last week's Challenge Cup win at amateurs Askam, as is current Hull KR centre Will Oakes.

Colton Roche also plays on his arrival on loan from Huddersfield Giants to add power to the pack, alongside big forwards Sam Scott and Ronan Dixon, who also sat out last week's tie.

Oakes and half-back Matty Marsh had played on dual-reg for York in their League One opener against Bradford a fortnight ago, but, with Marsh having been struggling with a dead leg, Liam Jackson keeps his place at stand-off after an encouraging debut at Askam.

Ford said other dual-reg players had initially been made available but changes to Hull KR's plans had knock-on effects for York's selection process, even though Rovers' Super League game against Castleford on Thursday night fell foul of the weather.

Nevertheless, on Jackson, Ford said: "I think it's important he plays for his development and so he keeps getting experience.

"He performed well last week and in my opinion he deserves to stay in the side this week.

"We will need Liam throughout the season. If he maintains the standard he showed, he will play a good number of games for us. That's not to say he will play every game - nobody will. We do need plenty of players and we will use some from Hull KR when it suits."

Ford has also done his homework on the Bears.

"They have good players," he said. "The two centres, (Jason) Bass and (Dante Morley-) Samuels, are decent and the two halves, (Ben) Stead and (Paul) Emanuelli, have a good, creative kicking game.

"They have some big lumps down the middle and if our contacts are not good or our markers are off they can cause us problems.

"We will go there looking to be at our best."

He added: "We will be focusing on ourselves and our performance. We've got standards we need to hit weekly. We've spoken about being a really consistent team, not just when facing the likes of Toronto or Bradford, but hitting high standards and being at that level every week. Playing away at Coventry is included in that."

Should Sunday's game be postponed, meanwhile, the Knights will look to have a training session instead.

"It depends on what facilities are available," Ford reasoned, their pitches at their York St John University sports centre base having been under snow this week.

"We're already discussing the options for training on Sunday. We don't want to lose any of our fitness or sharpness. We might need to come in and top them up to make sure they're ready for what will be a really physical, high-intensity game against Oldham."

The team's routine has already been badly affected by this week's weather, with sessions on Tuesday and this evening restricted to indoors, while the one last night was cancelled altogether because of treacherous driving conditions.

Ford admitted it had been an "issue", despite the facilities at their Haxby Road base, but added: "It's probably affected our opponents as well. In fact, every team will be in a similar predicament."