JAMES FORD says that Ryan Carr’s comments that Featherstone are underdogs heading into tomorrow’s game against York are “bizarre”.

Speaking to the local media ahead of the game, Featherstone coach Carr said that the Knights were the favourites having spent the majority of the campaign ahead of the Rovers in the Betfred Championship league table.

That is in spite of Featherstone, it is believed, having a larger playing budget than York, who were only promoted from League One last season.

Ford was dumbfounded by Carr’s take about who went into the fixture as underdogs.

“I think that’s a bizarre thing to say,” said Ford in response.

“I know that he’s only been in the country a short while and maybe he doesn’t understand the history of the Featherstone and York clubs.

“He’s done a great job with Featherstone and I’ve got a lot of respect for him, but I do think that those comments are a strange thing to say.”

The Knights boss was though keen to complement the Rovers, who have won 11 of their last 13 matches and have already beaten York twice this year.

“Featherstone are a good side and their recent good run of form doesn’t surprise me in all honesty,” added Ford.

“They’ve made some changes to their squad throughout the season and they’ve proven to be smart decision that have benefitted them.

“We’ll prepare for our game against Featherstone in the same way in which we would prepare for any other game.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Featherstone, they’re a tremendous side. In order to beat them we’ll have to play to the top of our game and if we perform any less than that, we’ll be beaten, and we know that.”

York will be boosted by the return of several key players that were unavailable for last weekend’s trip to Toronto Wolfpack, when only a 17-man squad was selected.

Captain Tim Spears is back, as is fellow key likely starters Graeme Horne, Joe Porter, Sam Scott, Perry Whiteley, Ronan Dixon and Kriss Brining.

Those to miss out are Matt Chilton, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Jack Blagbrough, Cameron Scott and Danny King.

“We’re certainly a lot healthier this week than we were last week,” Ford said.

“Those lads that are coming back in will bring experience to our squad which will be much needed for the game.

"Our players will have to be at our best to win the game because Featherstone are a genuinely quality side.

“They’ve got to win the game to make it into the top five, as have we.”

It’s the final league game of the season for York at Bootham Crescent, though Ford hopes they’ll return there in the play-offs.

“It’s our final home league game of the season, but there’s obviously the potential that it won’t be out last game at home this year,” he said.

“We’ve really enjoyed playing at Bootham Crescent this year. The fans have got behind us and created a great atmosphere and we’ll need them again this weekend."

York City Knights squad: Matty Marsh, Perry Whitley, Jason Bass, Liam Salter, Will Oakes, Liam Harris, Connor Robinson, Ronan Dixon, Will Jubb, Graeme Horne, Sam Scott, Joe Porter, Tim Spears, Kriss Brining, Marcus Stock, Jack Teanby, Jordan Baldwinson, Mike Kelly, Brad Hey.