YORK City Knights have taken on five local trialists ahead of their 2020 pre-season campaign.

The trialists will join up with the Betfred Championship side's first-team squad for a month and could feature in the Knights' pre-season matches against Featherstone Rovers, Halifax RLFC and Bradford Bulls in January.

Head coach James Ford and assistant Will Leatt have identified a number of promising talents in the local area from the amateur set-up, the club's development programme and the college and University game.

The five trialists to join the Knights are Stephen Gibbs, Lewis Brown, Josh Parker, AJ Towse and Myles Harrison.

Gibbs is the captain of the currently unbeaten York St John University side, which is coached by Leatt.

The half-back has previously played for Wakefield College, where he won the 2018 RFL College Player of the Year, and the Halifax reserves.

In September, the 20-year-old also captained the GB Pioneers, a representative University side which travelled to Albania.

Half-back Brown has earned a trial after a strong season with York Acorn in the National Conference League division one.

The 20-year-old, who has previously played for the Castleford Tigers Academy, won the club's awards for Players' Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.

Parker was also spotted by the Knights staff whilst at Acorn, in a session delivered by Leatt.

Described by the club was a "lively outside back with good evasion and a natural ability to react to space", the 18-year-old also featured for the York College team.

Towse and Harrison both come into the squad after impressing for the club's EXCEL+ programme.

Towse, 16, is an "athletic and tenacious" outside back, who showed great "attitude and commitment", according to the club.

Harrison, 16, is a half back or full back from Heworth. "He consistently demonstrated a mature and professional approach towards his training, and played to a promising level in the games," said the Knights.

"Both of these young men are an absolute credit to the coaching staff at Heworth."

Knights head coach James Ford said: “It’s very important that we give York players a pathway towards our first team.

“I’m looking forward to working with these young men. As with any player attitude, coach-ability and commitment are key.

"This is an opportunity where all parties get a closer look - We’re confident this will boost a growing community game, as the worst case scenario is we send back better players to their community clubs.

“We’re proud of the distance our relationship has travelled with the clubs in the area and want to further strengthen this going forwards.”