FAN favourite Joe Batchelor is as determined as anyone to see York City Knights promoted as Betfred League One champions - even though he is on his way up regardless.

The 23-year-old back-rower-turned-centre - the club and Press Player of the Year in 2017 after a stellar debut campaign in the Minster city - agreed a three-year deal with Super League giants St Helens in May, starting next season.

Yet he said then that it would not lessen his eagerness to see the Knights fight for the crown - and he has been good to his word, currently topping the club's try charts to boot.

The title now boils down to Sunday's clash with Whitehaven at Bootham Crescent, where victory would give James Ford's team the sole automatic promotion spot - and the ever-enthusiastic Batchelor has assured fans he will once more give his all to the cause.

"Absolutely 100 per cent. It's massive for me that I do my absolute best," he said.

"I'm contracted here until the end of the season and this club means a lot to me.

"I'm really grateful for what everyone has done for me and I've really enjoyed it as well. It's important to finish the right way and that's by getting the club promoted.

"Not only that but with the group of players we've got, it's impossible to do anything other than give 100 per cent."

While defeat on Sunday would almost certainly hand the title to Bradford Bulls and extend Batchelor's time at York into the play-offs, victory would make it his last match in white, black and amber.

"It really means a lot to me to do well," he insisted.

"I've massively enjoyed my two years at York. It's a club I will always hold in high regard no matter what. To see the club get promoted into the Championship and kick on from there would fill me with pride."

The clash promises to be yet another humdinger in the Knights' season. Whitehaven are one of only two teams to have beaten them in the league this year and they of course ended York's season last term in that epic play-off semi-final.

Asked if the Cumbrians are "owed one", Batchelor said: "That's maybe an added side story but it's not the way we're looking at it.

"We've got a very important job to do and I don't think it would matter who we were playing against. We will be doing everything we can to make sure we get the points."

Batchelor also insisted there was no new pressure on the Knights even though the title is now theirs to lose.

Referring to Bradford being the odds-on favourites all year, he said: "There's no added pressure on us. We weren't expected to be in this position and every day we've been in it has been a bonus.

"It's a very important job that needs doing now and we're determined to make sure it happens."