HEAD coach James Ford has spoken of his excitement after his York City Knights side drew Wigan Warriors at home in the Betfred Challenge Cup.

The Super League giants will visit the LNER Community Stadium over the weekend of April 10 for the third-round clash.

Nineteen-time winners of the Challenge Cup Wigan have entered the competition at this stage with the other 12 Super League sides, while the Knights have had to see off the challenge of fellow Championship top-six hopefuls Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos.

Two ties from the third-round draw will be broadcast on the BBC but it is understood that the York game against Wigan is unlikely to be one of them.

"It's very exciting," said Ford of the tie. "I'm sure the players will be really excited by prospect of challenging themselves against Wigan. The supporters and sponsors of the club will be equally excited - as am I.

"We drew Cas last year and didn't get the opportunity to compete against them. We're really looking forward to it.

"We're going up against the game's elite but that's where we want to be.

"But it's on the back-burner for now. Our attentions are on reviewing the London game, getting better and building towards Toulouse."

Championship side York's aspirations lie higher up the club rugby league ladder, as shown in their third-placed finish in the 2019 second-tier campaign and their push to become the 12th side in Super League this season, an honour that eventually went to Leigh Centurions.

It is potential that is recognised from the outside. York have the third-shortest odds in the division - after Featherstone and Toulouse - to finish top of the Championship this season. Asked if this is an opportunity to lay down a marker, Ford said: "Wigan will know that we'll be coming to compete.

"Whether that's a marker or not for the rest of rugby, I'm not bothered. I'm just focusing on my team and making sure that we perform to the standards that we've set."

Both of the Knights previous matches in the competition have been on the road, most recently in Sunday's 14-2 victory at London.

Possibly the only real disappointment of this tie is that no fans will be allowed in to the Community Stadium for what would otherwise likely be a bumper crowd. York's Challenge Cup tie against Catalans Dragons in 2018 drew 3,081 spectators.

"We're pleased to be at home," Ford added. "It would be even better to be at home with some supporters in there but with every day, we get a bit closer to being able to do that.

"We'll focus on performing as well as we possibly can and look forward to seeing our supporters soon."