JAMES FORD admits that it will be a “hard job” to name his side for this week’s season opener at Sheffield Eagles after an impressive display against Hull FC.

The Knights rallied from 22 points behind to almost snatch a draw in their pre-season friendly clash with Hull at the LNER Community Stadium.

Despite eventually losing out 28-22, Ford was pleased with the character and effort shown by his group, which contained a whole host of new faces.

In total, eight new off-season recruits featured for York with the likes of Tim Spears, Chris Clarkson and Adam Cuthbertson still to come back into the fold having been rested.

Picking a 17 to begin the season in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup on Friday evening will not be an easy task.

“I needed to give everybody an opportunity to fight for a position against Sheffield and after I’ve watched the video and had a look at the stats I’ll be much clearer about what my best team is,” said Ford.

“That was one of the objectives from this and I think we will achieve that.

“But, sometimes that video and the stats can make a liar out of you and you can too kindly or harshly judge people.

“The effort was sensational and there was nobody out there that wasn’t putting team-first effort-wise, which is a big tick for me.

“It’ll be a hard job (to pick a 17) but the film will give me a real clear indication of what team we go in with against Sheffield.”

One position that looks up for grabs still is at half-back. Brendan O’Hagan and Riley Dean - the two only fit halves by trade following the season-ending injury to Morgan Smith - looked like nailed-on starters before the Hull encounter.

But, in the second-half against the Black and Whites, Matty Marsh moved from full-back to his former position and was influential and provided assists for Ben Jones-Bishop (who moved to full-back in his place) and Liam Salter.

“Absolutely that’s an option,” said of a potential return to the halves for Marsh. “Everything is on the table.”

“Marshy is a former half and we converted him into a full-back, so we’ve got no problem dropping Marshy back into the halves if he’s our best option.

“I suppose him and Brendan O’Hagan have got to fight it out to show me who is our best option.”

On the displays of his new recruits, Ford added: “I thought they had some really positive involvements. I thought Brendan O’Hagan was pretty good throughout the game.

“I thought (Ryan) Atkins was good in the first half and (Tyme Dow-) Nikau was good defensively in the second.

“Obviously, Bish (Jones-Bishop) showed his class with the try when moving to full-back and Kieran (Dixon) played a massive part in that first try.

“I think there’s some real positivity around the players that we’ve brought into the club but they were also some strong performances from the old guard.

“I thought Jack Teanby was outstanding and James Green was excellent, he ramped up and carried hard.”

He was also eager to praise Heworth’s community dual registration pair AJ Towse and Myles Harrison, who featured in the second-half against FC.

Ford said: “I was really impressed with them. AJ came up with a really good tackle on Mahe Fonua and Myles had one or two really positive involvements.

"There would have been a third in Toby Warren but he broke his thumb.

“I’ve been really impressed with how they’ve trained and really impressed with their confidence. They need to keep their heads down because there could be something in them, for sure.

“They’re on dual-registration still. But if they keep going like they have been, they could play more for us.”