DESPITE being one of only two full-time clubs in the Betfred Championship this year, London Broncos have gone somewhat under the radar in the build-up to the 2021 season.

Plenty of noise has surrounded Featherstone Rovers and Toulouse Olympique, the two clear favourites to win promotion to Betfred Super League according to the bookmakers, with both making several eye-catching additions in the off-season.

While London remain one of the division’s most dangerous outfits, the bookmakers give London and York City Knights, who face off tomorrow in the Betfred Challenge Cup second round (2.30pm), the same chance of topping the regular season table.

Head coach Danny Ward, who masterminded the club’s promotion in 2018 and subsequent heroics in relegation from Super League, is still at the helm but has a rebuilding job on his hands if he is to return the capital club to the top flight.

Of the 17 players who took on Wakefield Trinity on the final day of the 2019 season, only three were involved in last week’s 24-10 victory over Keighley Cougars in the last round of the Challenge Cup, with many of their squad being raided by Super League clubs.

During the off-season, prop Eddie Battye moved to Wakefield, Rob Butler signed for Warrington Wolves and Dan Norman joined St Helens.

The Knights also moved for Broncos talent, signing winger Kieran Dixon and half-back Morgan Smith.

London have done plenty of recruitment though, as would be expected, the headline of which is the return of the mercurial Jarrod Sammut.

The playmaker was the creative force behind the club’s 2018 promotion push, with his form sealing a move to top-flight giants Wigan Warriors.

After a short spell at Leigh Centurions last year, the 34-year-old heads back to his former club for his third spell.

Sammut is set to partner Cory Aston in the halves. With full-back James Meadows and hooker Matty Fozard alongside him, London have one of the best spines in the division.

Added to that, Ward has loaned in Super League three-quarters Ed Chamberlain and Chris Hankinson, for Salford Red Devils and Wigan respectively, while middle Romain Navarette also arrives from the Warriors.

Ward told OurLeague: "The blokes who we've brought in are exciting us. We've lost players, but we don't dwell on that, that's the game, that's sport.

"The new blokes that have come in have bought into what we're about and have been great to work with and hopefully we can have a good year at the Broncos."

Despite the different personnel of the two sides, the Knights may take some confidence from their 24-22 win at London in this same competition last season.

A last-minute try from Hull Kingston Rovers loanee Jimmy Keinhorst saw York twice come from behind to book a tie against Castleford Tigers which would never be played amid the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

That victory took place at the Ealing Trailfinders Sports Ground whereas Sunday’s fixture will be hosted at London’s temporary home at The Rock - the home of rugby union side Rosslyn Park.

Broncos are hopeful of securing a groundshare with AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane, but need the support of the League One club’s fans in a vote.