ADAM CUTHBERTSON has been given the all-clear by a specialist and may be in contention for selection from next week, James Ford has said.

York City Knights’ off-season recruit from Leeds Rhinos was absent from the pre-season friendly clash with Hull FC at the LNER Community Stadium on Thursday as he recovered from his shoulder injury.

York had feared that Cuthbertson may be ruled out for several weeks but were given good news after the assessment.

As a result, the 35-year-old will be eased back into full contact and could be back among those available for selection from next week.

The Australian was one of a number of high-profile signings made by the Knights during the off-season – having won five major trophies during a successful spell at Leeds.

Former captain Tim Spears is not quite ready for Friday evening’s season opener at Sheffield Eagles (7.30pm) in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup, but current skipper Chris Clarkson returns to the squad.

Warrington Wolves loanee Riley Dean is not available due to cup tie fears from his parent club.

“We’ll see Clarky in the squad,” added Ford. “He just needed another week to let some irritation settle down.

“Tim has had an injection in his wrists, so he’s missed a week or so of training. If I asked him to put his hand up, he would, we all know that. But, we’re giving Tim a little bit more time.”

Spears wasn’t involved on the field in last week’s pre-season friendly with Hull FC but was involved off it, leading the warm-up as part of the coaching group.

Ford said: “Tim is a fantastic leader, a very intelligent young man and his influence at the club is growing. He’s not the captain anymore, but he’s got a bigger influence than that now.”

York City Knights’ 21-man squad to play Sheffield Eagles: Marsh, Bass, Salter, Atkins, K Dixon, O’Hagan, R Dixon, Jubb, Teanby, Clarkson, Scott, Brining, Baldwinson, Stock, Kirmond, Green, Porter, Whiteley, Washbrook, Dow-Nikau, Jones-Bishop.