JAMES FORD hopes that the debuts of teenagers Myles Harrison and AJ Towse can inspire more York-based youngsters to feature for York City Knights in years to come.

Harrison and Towse - both 17 - made their professional bows for York in last Friday’s 26-0 Betfred Challenge Cup defeat to Wigan Warriors.

The pair had signed professional deals with the Knights until the end of the 2023 season earlier in the day, having previously been on community dual-registration from Heworth ARLFC.

And York head coach Ford is hopeful that more local talents can follow the same journey into the first-team set-up.

“I’m really proud that we’ve given two 17-year-olds their debuts and it’s a debut that they’ll remember,” said Ford. “There won’t be many 17-year-olds that get to make their debuts against Wigan. Myles Harrison especially I thought showed up really well and I was pretty pleased with them both.

“It shows that we do care about the community game in York. We want it to thrive because ultimately that supplies us with players like Myles Harrison and AJ Towse, and Matty Chilton before that.

“We want more to come through and I’d love to have a full team of York lads out there, but unfortunately that’s probably a little bit unrealistic.

“I think kids in York can see that there’s a pathway, we do want them in our team and hopefully we can get some more in.”

Full-back Harrison was immaculate under the high ball and stood strong in the face of some tough kick pressure he faced from Wigan’s superstars. He was named as the club’s man of the match after a poll on social media.

Ford added: “You’re not going to face Wigan and not be under pressure, they’re a very physical team and they’re ruthless with their aggression.

“That’s not a dig at them by the way, because that’s good rugby league, in my opinion, being aggressive and testing people physically.

“Myles was tested and he stood up to it so that’s another tick on the sheet for Myles Harrison.”