YORK City Knights head coach James Ford believes Hull KR’s new dual-registration agreement with Coventry Bears can only be a good thing.

Meanwhile, despite the Knights flying high in the division – in second place and two points off the Betfred League One summit – Ford also expressed reluctance to speculate on the eventual outcome of the campaign ahead of tomorrow's visit to Keighley Cougars.

With the 2018 season now at its halfway point, the deal between Rovers and Coventry covers the remainder of the term and will not affect the Knights’ existing partnership with Super League side Rovers.

Ford, noting that it is the parent club’s prerogative to ensure the development and well-being of their up-and-coming players, highlighted the symbiotic nature of the dual-reg system and insisted that all parties can come out winners with the deal.

York have benefited on the field with – to name but one – the Robins' Will Oakes, who became the first dual-reg player for the Knights to make the requisite five appearances to make himself eligible for the final third of the season with a man-of-the-match performance last week at North Wales Crusaders. He has been named in the 19-man squad for the trip to Cougar Park.

He said: “It will have a positive effect – every week we have a couple, if not more, dual-reg players we don’t sign. They’re Hull KR’s players to make sure they’re game-fit for the Super League, so it makes sense they would form another relationship.

“Knights and Hull KR both work hard for one another and with Coventry in there all the clubs will work hard to make sure we all benefit.

“We’ll still have first pick of the players. It’s a positive thing because the ones we don’t want can go to Coventry and get experience there.”

On the Knights potentially mounting a title-challenge, Ford said: “I haven’t thought about how the table will pan out. I don’t think any coach has done. All the top-10 sides are capable of beating each other.

“North Wales last week showed ability, as have London and Hemel. It would be ridiculous to predict how the table will finish. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season.

“I’ve certainly not thought too far ahead and about winning the league. We’re just taking one game at a time and making sure we’re prepared for the opposition.

“This week will be different again – we’re playing a good side so we need to make sure we’re at our best on the day.”