YORK ACORN coach Josh Mortimer has called for the club’s return to the Kingstone Press National Conference League premier division not to be a flash in the pan.

Less than a fortnight ago, York secured their promotion from division one in dramatic circumstances on the final day of the season.

Acorn’s 88-0 rout over Dewsbury Moor saw them trump Featherstone Lions by eight points on points difference after both sides finished level on 31 points.

In the 2016 and 2013 season, York have featured in the premier division, though each time lasted just one season before an immediate relegation back to division one.

Mortimer insists that the aim of the club is to make sure that they don’t see a repeat of that in 2020.

“Promotion to the NCL Premier Division is a great achievement for the club,” said the coach.

“But at the same time, it’s what we set out to do at the start of the season. We believe we are a premier division team.

“We don’t want next season to be a flash in the pan and we end up back in division one the year after.

“We’ve been in that position before when we’ve not managed to stay in the Premier Division for more than a season.

“That’s not a slight on any previous coaches or players that have been at the club. As a former player myself, I’ve been relegated twice before and I know how difficult it will be for us.

“Moving forward, I think that the little things around the club need to change. At the moment we’re looking to build to the future and I think that we’ve got the right players in the squad at the moment to be able to do that.

“We’re going to need more self-belief in the group and, of course, things will need to go our way.

“The fixture list for one, because in our last season in the Premier Division, we were given a really tough start, playing the top five away from home very early on in the year and that really killed us.

“We’ll need a good start and to get some points on the board early on and then look to ride that wave heading into the latter part of the season.”

Acorn lost just once at home this year - a key aspect of their promotion charge - and Mortimer thinks maintaining that in the higher tier could be significant to their success.

“I think making the most of our home games will be crucial,” he added.

“We want to make Thanet Road a place where teams don’t want to come. I’d like to think that we could compete with anyone at home and win those games and then pick up a few wins on the road too.

“It was our away form this year that stopped us winning the league this season.

“For me, if we can get those right, then I think we can beat play-off chasing sides in the Premier Division.”

Mortimer was also keen to stress that there won’t be any wholesale changes to the club when they return to the premier division, preferring to keep faith in his promotion-winning squad with a few subtle tweaks.

“To be honest, we’ve had a successful year, so I don’t feel the need to change too much,” he said.

“At the club, we’ve got a real player-led environment. We’re not a dictatorship, everyone’s opinion is taken on board, but it is ultimately my decision what gets implemented.

"They want to have their opinions heard at the end of the day.

“We have already started looking ahead to 2020. We’ve had discussions with our conditioner because I believe that we were the fittest team in the league this year.

“We want to retain that level of fitness and become a stronger team too.

“I’m currently looking at bringing in some wrestling techniques into our training.

“It’s not something that we’ve worked on too much before and I don’t think we should be naive enough not to train in that area.”