YORK City Knights may have an advantage over other sides if and when action resumes, such has been their training work-rate during lockdown, reckons captain Tim Spears.

The Knights have been out of action on the field since their Coral Challenge Cup win over Rochdale Hornets in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The players remain in training from home, given that they are unable to meet up as a full squad, with the smartphone application Strava – which tracks running and cycling routes – used to monitor their progress.

Spears said: “I’ve spoken to Fordy (head coach James Ford) and a few other guys about it and we’ve been saying that ‘If we look after ourselves during this period, then that gives us a real opportunity to get out of this better than other clubs.’

“Other teams might not look after ourselves as well as we are and have those high and professional standards that we have.

“The coaching staff have done a really good job of creating groups on Strava.

“They’ve set weekly challenges on that and levels that we’re expected to hit on that.

“There’s added competition from all of the boys getting involved with it and trying to beat your team-mate or your own effort from the previous week.

“That’s been really useful.

“Credit to our playing group too.

Spears added: “We are a professional group and you can see that in the volume of activity on there.

“There is 60 to 70 hours a week going on collectively and that’s just in running and cycling alone.

“I think that gives you an idea of how hard the boys have been working in very difficult circumstances.”

Betfred Championship and League 1 clubs met on June 25 to discuss the viability of restarting the season, with a decision expected to be given or neared at an RFL board meeting on Monday.

As yet though, no official time-scale has been laid out, something that is a challenge when it comes to training.

“I think the challenge really is around knowing when we’re going to be back and having that goal to work towards,” said Spears.

“When you’ve got a pre-season to get through, you load up and focus all of your efforts on that eight to 12 week period, but now you don’t want to peak too soon and go crazy because you’ve potentially got a long season in front of you.

“Equally, you don’t want to let yourself go and fall behind the curve.

“Being honest, at times your motivation can wander a little. We’re all human and training on your own is difficult.

“As a group, we’ve spoken about that. Some of the boys are taking the odd day or two off when they feel its right to do that. But, then that instinct for training comes back in again and you come back better.

“By and large, I think we’ve all managed pretty well.

“The gym side of things has been pretty difficult due to a lack of equipment and gyms being closed, but we’ve found a way as well as we can do.

“Plus, there are people in far, far worse situations than we found ourselves in.

“Thinking outside the box to do your training isn’t really that bad.”

Super League will return behind closed doors on August 2. However, whether there is the funds below the top-flight to regularly test predominantly part-time players and make an empty grounds financially viable is a major question.

“I think as players, you just want to play,” Spears said of a possible behind-closed-doors return.

“We’re intelligent enough to know that we have to do what is best for not only York City Knights but rugby league as a whole.

“The idea of playing behind closed doors, while it may work in Super League, I’m not sure for a Championship club that works.

“You would still have all of the outgoings but none of the incomings.

“It’s difficult because of the testing programmes as well.

“Super League players will basically just train then go home. You then compare than training regime to part-time players who are at work every day, interacting with different people on a daily basis.

“It’s far more difficult and the potential risk is far greater.

“I’d love to be back playing, I’d be back playing tomorrow and do whatever I would need to do to make that happen.

"I’ll have my boots ready for whenever I get the nod!”