YORK City Knights are hopeful of being able to call upon their of their key forwards for the trip to Swinton Lions this weekend.

York’s squad has been plagued with injuries throughout the 2021 season and in their most recent clash against Sheffield Eagles, they were again down on numbers by the finish.

Forwards Joe Porter and Marcus Stock clashed heads and were taken off for HIAs while Will Jubb sustained a shoulder issue.

However there remains some good news on the injury front for the Knights as Chris Clarkson, Danny Kirmond and Jordan Baldwinson all may be available for inclusion, bringing some much-needed quality and numbers to the forward pack.

Of the previously injured trio, Ford reported: “We’re very hopeful we’ll have Chris Clarkson and Danny Kirmond back and Jordan Baldwinson trained really well on Tuesday.

“They are three key players for us. They bring leadership, shape off the ball and with the ball through the middle. It would be great to get those three back out.”

Ford also reported that outside backs Perry Whiteley and Jason Bass had taken part in training this week and were likely to be declared fit by the medical staff for either this week or next.

Stock has an outside chance of featuring with Ford insisting that “we’ve not ruled him out for this week”.

There is less good news though for half-back Brendan O’Hagan, who looks likely to be out for two weeks, due to a reoccurance of his hamstring injury.

Tyme Dow-Nikau and Kriss Brining are in contention to play at Dewsbury next weekend while forwards Tim Spears (calf), James Green (hip) and Porter (concussion) are carrying knocks.

“We’ve got some strong characters in the team, a strong amount of togetherness in the team and we were a try away from coming out of the (Sheffield) game with something,” Ford added. “But we’re aspiring to be better.”

The Knights head to Swinton hoping to secure their first Betfred Championship win of the year and their first league victory since September 2019 following the cancellation of the 2020 season.

Swinton finished ninth in the Championship in 2019 and beat Newcastle Thunder and Oldham in the Betfred Challenge Cup before bowing out in a 32-8 defeat by Betfred Super League giants Warrington Wolves.

Assessing the Lions, Ford said: “They play differently from a lot of sides, they play laterally and across you.

“They’ll move the ball to their back row early in the sets and look to play across the middles. We’ll have to defend those shifts well. If you kick the ball well, you reduce the amount of shifts you’re going to have to defend.

“That starts with our exits, our transitions and our discipline to keep defending the way that we want to defend.

“They’ve got some good individuals with (Jack) Hansen in the halves and (Martyn) Ridyard is still a classy player.

“Mike Butt is a competitor on the wing and a good finisher. They’ve got a couple of middles who can move the ball pretty well. They’re a good side and they play a unique style of rugby but it’s about us.

“It’s about us continuing to do the things we’re doing well. Our defence has been really good. Sheffield had 50 per cent additional possession than us in the first half and they’ve scored off individual mistakes rather than system mistakes.

“We want to improve on our shape in yardage, early ball movement and our execution in good ball because it’s clear as day that we do need to improve there.”