YORK City Knights will go to Halifax confident but wary, says head coach James Ford.

Third-placed in the Betfred Championship, York head into this, the final game of the normal season, with just one defeat in their last 10 games.

Their most recent outing was a nerve-wracking 24-23 comeback win over fellow play-off contenders Leigh Centurions - a victory which showcased York's determination and character, but one which Ford has vowed to improve on.

Despite this performance - and having beaten Halifax 38-16 back in March - Ford is not anticipating an easy game at the Shay, from where seven players are set to depart after the final hooter.

Among the leavers is former Knights man Ben Johnston and namesake Ben Kaye, who - between them - have played 249 times for Halifax since 2014.

"That game has been gone a long time," said Ford on the last meeting of the sides, in which York got off to a flyer with three tries in 13 minutes and did not look back.

"It's about our preparation this week, about how we start the game, our energy and our enthusiasm.

"Luckily for us, historical results don't count. When the game kicks off, that's when the business starts to matter.

"Our form has been good around the back end of the season. We lost to Toronto but, apart from that, we've been pretty good at picking up wins.

"We'll go there confident but aware that Halifax are a quality side with good players.

"There will be some emotion there, they have players leaving who have been excellent for them and a big part of the Halifax side that consistently finished in the top four.

"They deserve a big send-off and the fans will want to show their appreciation.

"They're a tight-knit club.

"We're expecting a tenacious Halifax who will give their all for those who are leaving."

However, Ford has no misgivings about his own side's ability and mental fortitude. To record a historic double over Leigh, York had to come from 10 points down at the break.

"We look at character of players and we develop resilience and cohesion in the programme," he said. "But the lion's share of the praise goes to the players.

"We've won so many close games over the years. I'm really proud of how tough they are and how they buy into what we want to improve on.

"We really enjoy working with each other and I'm really proud that mentality and practice shows on game day.

"Any win against Leigh is a good win. They're a well-coached side, they play really good rugby, they have some eye-catching individuals in there.

"It's pleasing but we want to be better. We'd prefer not to be 10 points behind.

"We'll keep working until we're good enough."

Jack Teanby and Liam Salter have recovered from knocks to make the 19, while Joe Porter and Kriss Brining drop out, having picked up injuries.

Forward Danny King - who has joined on loan until the end of the season from Dewsbury Rams - does not feature in the 19 this week, though Ford believes there is "potential in him". He is replaced by Ronan Dixon.

York: (from) Marsh, Chilton, Hey, Bass, Oakes, Harris, Robinson, Baldwinson, Jubb, Stock, Salter, S Scott, Spears, Horne, Blagbrough, Teanby, Dixon, Jordan-Roberts, Kelly.