YORK City Knights captain Tim Spears has hailed the club's ability to win close matches and pointed out that it has been a trait of the club since his arrival back in 2017.

The Knights cemented their place in the Betfred Championship play-offs just less than a fortnight ago thanks to a 22-18 victory over Featherstone at Bootham Crescent.

Once again, it was a closely fought contest which York edged - a key component of their run to the top five.

In all, 11 of York's 17 league victories this season have been won by a margin of single digits - more than that of fellow top-five sitters Toulouse, Leigh and Featherstone.

It's an aspect of their game which Spears says isn't new to them.

"I think we’ve had a good record in tight games throughout my time here at the club," said Spears, who has been at York since his move from Featherstone in 2017.

"Even last year we won a number of games by close margins, against Oldham, Doncaster, Bradford, Workington, from what I remember.

"To be fair, you have to give Fordy (James Ford, head coach) and the coaching staff credit for that.

"They’ve built a competitiveness in training and set really high standards.

"They drive at us hard in our video review on where we can get better and improve.

"I think it comes from the culture and personnel at the club. We’ve got individuals who are determined to win and we’ve had that for a couple of years.

"It’s a quality that we’re proud out. But what we did last year in those tight games, that only gets you so far.

"I think this year we’ve grown as a time and shown real maturity.

"We’re defensively tough, we defend well in corner and we’ve improved all aspects of our game.

The skipper was also keen to hail the spine of the Knights team in controlling those tight matches towards their nail-biting finales.

"I think Connor Robinson has to get a lot of credit for that as our organiser," added Spears, "especially in the absence of (the retired) Ben Cockayne midway through the year.

"Liam Harris has done that too as has Matty Marsh at full back.

"Both Connor and Liam have both worked really well at managing our games and steering us around the park.

"They’re two young half backs and I’m sure that they will grow into very good players.

"But, it’s not just down to a few individuals, it is a team effort of course."

They'll most likely be more tightly-fought contests to when the Knights enter the play-offs in a fortnight's time, similar to their most recent win over Featherstone.

Spears says that game was a perfect dress rehearsal to their play-off campaign.

"I thought that the Featherstone game was played at a play-off match intensity," said Spears of the match.

"I thought it was a really good performance by the lads, particularly in the way that we made the pressure tell.

"We watched the highlights back in training on Tuesday night and it was really pleasing to watch.

"The main thing we took from it though was that there were so many aspects of our game we identified that we could be better.

"We won a game of high magnitude against a quality opposition.

"There’s still a fair bit of improvement in us, we believe."