LIAM SALTER believes York City Knights have taken a “step in the right direction” after their determined showing against Wigan Warriors.

York were beaten 26-0 by Betfred Super League giants Wigan to end their run in the Betfred Challenge Cup at the third round.

But the Knights were able to take plenty of positives from the performance, having been without 12 players for the historic cup tie.

And Salter thinks that there is now a strong platform to build from as Betfred Championship action resumes on Sunday against Sheffield Eagles at the LNER Community Stadium (7.30pm).

“I think we’ve taken a step in the right direction,” said Salter. “I know we didn’t score a point but we caused them a lot of issues and a lot of more problems than we caused Toulouse.

“Our defence was good, but there were a couple of tries there that were easily preventable and we’ll have a look at that in the week. It’s something to build on for us.

“We’ve got a lot of boys to hopefully coming back over the next couple of weeks and we can take the positives from the Wigan game and build on it.

“There are areas where we can improve. We can’t think, ‘We’ve come close against Wigan’, we need to be hard on ourselves and go again against Sheffield.”

Despite the divisional gap between the two sides, Wigan never managed to fully assert their dominance over proceedings, due to a combination of their ill-discipline and some stern York defence.

“I think our defence showed real intent, our line speed was good and we forced them into errors. We rattled them a little bit, especially in the first half.

“They kicked early and we forced them into mistakes.

“I’ve played against them a few times before for Hull KR and you know what you’re going to get from them, they’re a tough side and they came into the tackles hard and we had to match their intensity - and I think we did for the most part.

“It’s now up to us to build on this and keep on it.”

Given the Knights’ lengthy injury list, head coach James Ford handed out professional and club debuts to 17-year-old pair Myles Harrison and AJ Towse, both products of community club Heworth ARLFC.

Salter added: “We had Myles and AJ come into the team and they’ve done a great job and we know that, if it comes to it and they need to be called upon, then they can come and do a job for us. I think that puts us in a good spot.

“It was a baptism of fire coming up against a team like Wigan. But they’ve both had a great game, they’ve come out, done their jobs and been solid.

“For Myles, as a 17-year-old kid to come in at full-back, having never played in the Championship to come up against a Wigan side of that calibre and do what he did, he should be really proud of himself.”

Harrison in particular dealt maturely with the kick pressure that he faced from the Wigan defence.

“That’s the kind of kid he is,” said an impressed Salter. “He’s only slight so he’s going to cop that. But he kept coming and coming and that’s what we wanted from him.

“He should be really proud of himself.

“AJ did a little bit of a speech before the game which was really good. Both of them joined about 18 months ago and they’ve come on leaps and bounds since then.

“They’re willing to learn, they’re out there doing their extras before anyone else and they’ve reaped the benefits of that.

"They’ve got their chance against Wigan and full credit to them.”