YORK City Knights boss James Ford has conceded that nine wins from 11 is a "good start" to the Betfred League One campaign - but says his team need to be better to keep the pressure on title rivals Bradford Bulls.

The Knights head towards the midway point of the campaign sat second in the table, two points behind the West Yorkshire fallen giants.

In-form Oldham, who were relegated with the Bulls last year, have risen to third with eight wins after beating Doncaster on Sunday, and a stack of five teams - including Sunday's visitors to Bootham Crescent, Workington Town - are up behind them on seven.

Asked if at the start of term he would have accepted York's current win-loss ratio at this point, Ford said: "No. I would have taken 11 from 11.

"That's just me as a person. It hurts us as a group to concede a try let alone lose a game.

"I suppose it's a good start but it could be better and, if we're going to keep up the pressure on Bradford, we need to be better."

Ford insisted, meanwhile, that the promotion battle was far from a two-horse race.

This was evidenced over the weekend as Whitehaven, who beat York at the Recre last week, lost to Hunslet at the John Charles Stadium on Saturday, 24 hours before Oldham saw off Donny 32-12.

"There are plenty of sides in it," said Ford. "We're not at the half-way point yet.

"Whitehaven have beaten us, Workington have beaten Bradford, Doncaster have shown they're a quality side, Oldham are up there, Hunslet gave us a good run for our money at their place.

"There are a number of teams who can have a huge influence on it."

This year, the table-toppers after a straight season of home and away fixtures go up automatically to the Championship with the next four going into play-offs for the second promotion spot. There is no longer a Super 8s section in League One.

Workington arrive at York on a run of three straight wins and on the back of further team strengthening under new boss Leon Pryce, the former Bradford, St Helens, Catalans, Hull and Great Britain star.

Asked if the Cumbrians were one of the genuine promotion-chasers, Ford said: "They're one, definitely.

"They've got some really experienced players in their ranks who find ways to win games.

"They play an attacking brand of rugby league and have some big boppers in the middle who are a handful.

"Leon Pryce has got a good side together and he also brings a big reputation which will have a positive effect.

"They've definitely got a strong squad, as evidenced by them beating Bradford (earlier in the season) and beating Newcastle last week comfortably - and Newcastle are a decent side.

"It's not just on paper. They're a good side and it will be a real challenge for us at Bootham Crescent. We will need our fans behind us immensely.

"If we can get our performance right at the standards we've set ourselves we should be good enough."