JAMES FORD expressed his pride as an injury-hit York City Knights went toe-to-toe with Betfred Super League giants Wigan Warriors in a 26-0 Betfred Challenge Cup defeat.

A depleted York side were missing 12 first-team players for the visit of reigning League Leaders’ Shield winners Wigan to the LNER Community Stadium.

Yet despite their lengthy injury list, they were able restrict Wigan’s potent attack and created sustained periods of pressure themselves too.

“Wigan are an absolutely outstanding Super League club and they’re a challenge for every Super League team, let alone a Championship team,” said the Knights head coach.

“So for us to face off against them with the personnel that we had missing and only have one forward on the interchanges, I’m really proud about how we pulled together and how hard-working we are and how mentally and physically tough we are.

“We completed 10 out of 11 sets in yardage, we moved it better out of yardage than we did against Toulouse and that’s what we’re trying to differentiate between, low-risk ball movement and and ridiculous offloads that put us under pressure. I thought we got that balance right."

Ford also saw plenty of positives in his side’s performance that he hopes can be translated into their Betfred Championship season which resumes next week against Sheffield Eagles.

“There’s a lot to work with, the togetherness and how the boys rallied around with the adversity that we were up against,” he added.

“It was really heartening and pleasing. It was really pleasing to see the boys put into action things that we’d been speaking about in the week.

“It shows me that that isn’t lip service and that they’re truly invested in trying to get better.”