JAMES FORD has spoken about how York City Knights get "bang for the buck" in pre-season training - the progress of which he is currently "really pleased" with.

The Knights are less than a month away from their first warm-up fixture - a trip to Featherstone Rovers on January 5 - in preparation for the 2020 Betfred Championship campaign, which starts on February 1 in Toulouse.

Head coach Ford explained that as a part-time side, York need to use their time wisely. They are helped in this regard by both technology and an approach to pre-season which differs somewhat from training Ford engaged in as a young player.

Asked about the traditional image of pre-season consisting of largely physical work, he said: "It certainly was when I was a young man - we spent a lot of time running up and down fields, rolling around in the mud. For what purpose, I'm not entirely sure.

"We're very fortunate, we're lucky to use the GPS at the uni so we get feedback in terms of metres covered, the amount of high-speed efforts, direction changes, contacts.

"We only get so much time as a part-time rugby league player. When you look at a full-time team, they might train for 20, 25 hours a week, where we might train for seven, eight hours a week, so you've got to look at getting the biggest bang for your buck.

"Are you going to embed your physical work into small-sided or simulation games where you're getting to work on parts of a performance, skill, decision-making, or do you want to use that time to run up and down the field?

"I'm not going to dictate to other coaches what they should be doing but we certainly feel we get the biggest bang for the buck ball-in-hand, challenging players to make decisions and execute skill under pressure, and it's paid dividends over the last three or four years.

"We're probably about halfway through," he said of the Knights' preparations on the whole. "The first phase of pre-season, we do a lot of what we would call 'quality work'. We do a lot of skill, a lot of speed, spend a lot of time in the gym.

"We work on a lot of general things, general handling and defensive skills, and slowly phase in positional-specific and team stuff.

"The boys are training really well and I'm really pleased with where we're at at the minute."