TIM SPEARS has backed York City Knights' supporters to have Bootham Crescent bouncing on Sunday - even more so now a second stand is set to open to accommodate another bumper attendance.

The Knights host Whitehaven knowing victory will secure them the Betfred League One crown and promotion to the Championship, and, given the expected crowd, they are to open the David Longhurst Stand as well as the Main Stand for a third time this season.

The Cumbrians are the last team to have defeated James Ford's men - some 15 games ago, with a 26-18 result at the Recre - and they were the side that ended York's promotion bid last year in that epic play-off semi-final.

But Spears, the Knights' captain marvel, is now determined to put those wrongs right, helped by the noise on the terraces.

The 34-year-old former Featherstone Rovers skipper told the Knights website: “The boys love playing at Bootham. The fans have been awesome all year. I think they’ve enjoyed some good rugby and they’ve been a massive part of our success.

“The buzz and the positivity they bring – certainly as players when you’re flagging at the back ends of halves, it’s a massive shot in the arm to have the support we’ve got.

“I’m sure they’ll turn out in great numbers, as they have done all season, and be loud and get behind the boys.”

He added: “We’re looking forward to seeing everybody down at the game. I hope they enjoy the occasion and we thank them for their fantastic support through the year.”

Spears himself is not unused to success, or of finishing above Bradford Bulls, the former World Club champions who were huge odds-on favourites for the League One crown but sit two points behind York going into the final weekend.

The talismanic loose-forward had led Featherstone into the Middle Eights in 2016 having beaten Bradford to fourth spot in the Championship that year. He also helped Rovers top the Championship in four consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2013, and lift the Championship Shield in 2015.

He said of this weekend's D-Day encounter: “Obviously we’ve had a great season coming into this game.

“It doesn’t need saying what’s at stake. We’ve been trying to keep things as normal as can be. At the end of the day it’s a game of rugby, 80 minutes on the field, just the same as any other.

“There’s a little bit more at stake but ultimately the things that have served us well through the year, we can take confidence from them and try to keep up those good habits and maybe just tweak where we’ve fallen a little bit short in recent weeks."