FAN-FAVOURITE Graeme Horne has not been given a York City Knights squad number for next season - but James Ford has left the door open to his return.

The Knights announced their squad numbers for the 2020 season at this week’s fans forum, with former England international Horne not among the 22 players to be handed shirts.

34-year-old Horne, a professional since 2002, has made 48 appearances for the Knights since joining the club on loan from Hull in 2017 before making the move permanent.

The Knights have yet to officially announced whether Horne has either been released or re-signed for next term and head coach Ford was ambiguous about whether the former Super League second-rower would feature again for the club.

“Horney and I have got a great relationship,” Ford said at the fans forum.

“I spoke to Graeme at length at the back end of last season about what his plans were moving forward.

“He wasn’t that sure on what he wanted to do.

“He said that he’d done 20-odd pre-seasons and he wasn’t that keen on doing another one.

Ford joked, “I changed his name in my phone to ‘The new Andy Ellis’, so you can read between the lines on that one.”

Ellis came out of retirement to return to York midway through last season, playing three times for the club.

It was also confirmed that winger Judah Mazive has been released by the club.

The Zimbabwean - whose 2019 season was cut short by injury - played 30 times for the Knights after joining the club in 2018, scoring a total of 19 tries.

Ford said: “You can only have so many players in a squad and we’ve got three wingers (Will Sharp, Perry Whiteley, Elliot Wallis) plus Jason Bass on our squad list at the moment.”

“Although I do believe that Judah is a good player and has got potential, I just didn’t see him playing very often for us next season, so we decided to release him.

Second-rower Mike Kelly and Kevin Brown were also not among the players to be handed 2020 squad numbers.

Also telling from the released squad numbers was the vacant number three shirt which seems to signal a new centre will be arriving at the club.

Ford hinted “we’re working on it”, when asked by supporters about the missing appointed jersey.

The Knights boss was also quizzed by supporters on whether last term’s loanees Liam Harris and Cameron Scott - both of whom joined the club on short-term deals from Hull FC - would be making returns to the club.

“Discussions are always ongoing,” said Ford.

“To bring a player in on loan, the deal has to work for all parties.

“The club rates both of those players and they both enjoyed their time here at York.

“I don’t think anyone involved in those deals would be opposed to it (bringing them back), but we’ll wait and see.”

The six off-season signings took the following numbers: Will Sharp (five), Ben Johnston (six) and Danny Washbrook (11), James Green (15), Chris Clarkson (16), Elliot Wallis (24).

The squad numbers for next season are as follows: Matty Marsh (1), Perry Whiteley (2), Liam Salter (4), Will Sharp (5), Ben Johnston (6), Connor Robinson (7), Ronan Dixon (8), Will Jubb (9), Jack Teanby (10), Danny Washbrook (11), Sam Scott (12), Tim Spears (13), Kriss Brining (14), James Green (15), Chris Clarkson (16), Joe Porter (17), Jordan Baldwinson (19), Marcus Stock (20), Jason Bass (21), Brad Hey (22), Josh Jordan-Roberts (23), Elliot Wallis (24).

Trialists: Stephen Gibbs, Lewis Brown, Josh Parker, AJ Towse, Myles Harrison.