YORK City Knights expect to be without skipper Tim Spears for next weekend's visit of Newcastle Thunder.

The veteran loose-forward departed Sunday's super win at Keighley around the hour mark after suffering a suspected hamstring pull and boss James Ford has now confirmed he is "very doubtful" to be fit within seven days.

The League One promotion-chasers were already likely to be without Connor Robinson after he exited with a head injury following a high tackle and controversial aftermath.

However, it is hoped Joe Batchelor will be okay to face the Tynesiders having coming off as a precaution with suspected sunstroke.

On-loan Huddersfield prop Colton Roche might also be fit, having sat out the last two games with a groin strain.

Meanwhile, Ford had praise for fellow front-rower Ronan Dixon after his successful recall at the weekend.

Roche's absence at Cougar Park, plus that of any dual-reg forwards from Hull KR, opened the door for Dixon to return to the 17 and he played his part in a fine pack effort.

Ford said: "Ronan's had to wait to get back in the side because we've got some quality players.

"With his first carry, he's gone straight through their line - that shouldn't happen should it? Two sides in the same division and a prop forward is running straight through the other team.

"This was his opportunity and he carried the ball really well."