YORK City Knights boss James Ford is hoping a week off will help to revitalise his troops ahead of their tough return to an arduous promotion battle.

He also admitted he would have preferred to have had the time away prior to last weekend's Betfred League One loss at Whitehaven rather than after it.

Rather than be hit by strenuous sessions as punishment for a below-par performance at Haven, the Knights had a weights and skill run-out last Tuesday and, with no game this weekend, were then given the rest of the week off.

They reconvene at their Haxby Road training base tomorrow, when preparations will start in earnest for Sunday's visit of Workington Town - for what promises to be another tough test against Cumbrian opposition with promotion hopes of their own.

"We've had a bit of an unload week. We had needed some time off away from rugby just to freshen up," explained Ford.

"It probably came a week too late.

"With the amount of bumps and bruises we've been putting up with from matches and training, it would have been great to have had a week off before the Whitehaven game to freshen everyone up.

"That said, it's not just us who are affected. There are other clubs in similar situations."

The seven-day mid-season break was probably the last of the year for Ford's men, and the head coach said: "It was really important. We're in every week now until the end of the year.

"We just wanted to give the boys time off, time with families and time away from rugby to freshen up.

"I'm expecting to see more zip and intensity at training this week and for that to manifest itself at the weekend."

The defeat at Whitehaven was only York's second of the league campaign so far, and Ford is demanding a response.

"We were really disappointed with a number of things, certainly in the second half," he said, the Knights having thrown away an 18-8 interval lead in a 26-18 defeat.

"We're looking for a response. We have been better than that frequently this year and we will be better.

"It's cost us two points. We can't change it but we can use it as a kick up the backside and make sure we do things to a York City Knights level from hereon in."

Meanwhile, Workington captain Oliver Wilkes reckons Town are coming into form at just the right time to prove their promotion credentials.

After struggling for consistency all season, Leon Pryce's team - recently bolstered by the arrival of Aussie star Kyle Lovett on loan from Leigh, to follow that of veteran Kiwi legend Fuifui Moimoi - have won three games in a row to move into the top five in League One, level on points with five other sides.

They trounced Hemel Stags and Coventry Bears before enjoying the most impressive of the three victories, dismissing an improving Newcastle Thunder side 38-18 at Derwent Park eight days ago.

Wilkes feels that is down to the team becoming comfortable with each other and having time to gel.

He said: “There’s been a shuffling around of the team and we’ve had a couple of additions with Jack Blagbrough (from Leigh) and Kyle Lovett coming in and doing pretty well for us.

“Consistency has come from learning how each other play and we’re quite a few games into the season now, so it’s taken time to settle but we’re going in the right direction and that’s the main thing.

“I think, if we had this side we’ve got now at the start of the season, I don’t think we’d be in the position we are but it’s a big learning curve for Leon and the club.

“We can’t rest on our laurels because we’ve struggled to string results together at times this season.”

Town now face a run of games against promotion rivals - starting with Sunday's trip to second-placed York.

“It’s going to be a really difficult encounter against them but, credit to our friends down the road (Whitehaven), they got a good win against them and if we can come up with a result like that, then we’ll really be rolling.”