BOSS James Ford admitted he might have made mistakes ahead of York City Knights’ last game of the regular season – even though they ended on yet another high.

The Knights came from 8-0 down to win 14-8 at Halifax, for a 19th victory of a remarkable Betfred Championship campaign which has seen them finish third and earn a shot at play-off glory for an unlikely place in Super League.

However, Ford took some of the blame for his side’s “ordinary” first half, and he also bemoaned the injuries to talismanic prop Graeme Horne and Jason Bass which could yet affect their play-off hopes as they now prepare for a trip to Toulouse Olympique.

Victory next Saturday will see York go to Toronto for a place in the Grand Final, while defeat will see them go into a knockout tie against the winners of Leigh and Featherstone.

Said Ford: “We picked up a couple of bumps and bruises so in hindsight I probably should have rested a couple.

“But it is what it is. Everybody gets injuries in rugby league and it affords opportunities to other players in the squad if they don’t pass fit.

“We’d prepared in the week to come here and play for second place. There was a chance Featherstone would beat Toulouse – unfortunately they couldn’t – so, it is what it is.”

Toulouse won 26-24 at Fev on Saturday so the Knights were guaranteed third place ahead of their game no matter the result.

Asked if that made a difference to his team’s approach, Ford said: “Attitude reflects leadership. Coaches are alright taking plaudits when things go well but it didn’t go right in the first half and I put my hand up with the boys and said the message I was intimating before the game probably wasn’t where it needed to be.

“We needed to change as a group in the second half and we did.”

On Horne’s shoulder injury, Ford added: “We will see. We’ll see how it settles down. Obviously Graeme is massively important for us. I’ll tell you now, we’ll wait till about one minute before kick-off (next week) to give him chance to recover.

“If there’s a chance, then Graeme will play, even if we have to take him out onto the field in a wheelbarrow. My fingers are crossed he’s going to be sweet for the play-offs.”

The Knights trailed 8-0 at half-time but won thanks to converted tries by Connor Robinson and Matt Chilton, plus a Robinson penalty.

On the performance as a whole, Ford said: “We showed our resilience and togetherness once again. In the first half we were pretty ordinary, if I’m honest. We were pretty flat and our approach wasn’t great.

“The boys wanted to rectify it in the second half and I believe they did. They came out and played much more like a York side and were good enough to get us home.”

Asked about the half-time team talk, Ford said: “We’ve got good people and good senior blokes. They (the players) knew they were off and they knew why they were off. They spoke about not finishing the season with that kind of effort or attitude.

“We were aware 40 minutes had gone and, unless somebody’s invented a time machine, we couldn’t go back and play it again. The only thing we could do was make sure our second half was more to our standards and it was certainly much closer.”

He added: “Our mentality wasn’t great in the first half and it’s hard to change it. When you turn up and are a little bit off, it’s hard to redirect your team so I was really pleased they reshuffled their focus and attitude.”