YORK City Knights boss James Ford has told young scrum-half Liam Jackson to rollick his forward pack if they are not playing up to scratch in future.

Local lad Jackson, who was plucked from amateur club Heworth over the winter, made his fourth appearance for his hometown pro club in last Saturday's 58-18 win at Coventry Bears, which kept the Knights joint-top of Betfred League One.

The team's performance was marred by a below-par second quarter, however, when the Midlands minnows scored three quickfire tries to level the scores at 18-18. And while Ford hailed his team's dominant second-half show, he wants his half-backs to also get a grip on proceedings when things aren't going to plan.

"He's learning," said Ford of 23-year-old reigning York & District ARL Player of the Year Jackson. "There were some decent touches.

"But when we're on the back foot and things are getting messy, he needs to step up and talk and organise and manage the game - roll the ball over the sideline, and give the middles a rollicking if they're not doing what he's asking them to do.

"If they're not running to the start points or they're forcing daft offloads, he needs to get hold of them and tell them.

"As he continues to improve and improve his confidence and his understanding, I'm sure he will do that.

"There's certainly something in Liam and we need to be patient with him. He's got a good mentality and a good approach to his development and I'm sure we'll see him continue to improve."

To that end, Ford reckons the young gun could learn off skipper Tim Spears, the veteran former Featherstone Rovers captain who was a vocal figure on the pitch in a bid to stop the temporary rot during Saturday's game at Butts Park Arena.

"He's been around a bit and he's seen a lot of rugby," said Ford.

"We speak about being a side that does not leak points. I think me and Tim both could see there was an issue with our mentality. It was evident in that 20 minutes and Tim's not the kind of bloke not to try to rectify it.

"He was immensely important to us, certainly when you add in there was no (Andy) Ellis, no (Jake) Butler-Fleming, no (Graeme) Horne, no (Kieren) Moss, no dual-reg (players)."

Alluding to Jackson a little, he added: "We had some inexperience in key positions and in that period they needed to talk and get hold of the game and manage that situation when we're on the ropes. Put the ball out, walk to the scrum and re-rack. But they didn't. Hopefully they'll learn from that."