JAMES FORD believes York City Knights will emerge on the other side of this injury crisis stronger for it.

The Knights have a long line of players in the treatment room, which half-back Brendan O’Hagan has joined for this week after pulling up with a hamstring injury early in the defeat to Sheffield Eagles.

He saw out the rest of the game but will not play a part in Sunday's trip to Swinton Lions (12.45pm). Hooker Will Jubb also spent time on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

Marcus Stock, meanwhile, suffered a nasty clash of heads with Joe Porter just after the quarter-hour mark and went off following a head-injury assessment - but he could return for Sunday.

With an injury list that has grown to 15 (of which some are long-term, like half-back Morgan Smith, and others who will be hopeful of returning soon), head coach Ford was prompted after the Sheffield defeat to say York are “doing it tough” at the minute.

And that does seem to be the case, having faced two Betfred Championship top-six challengers in Toulouse Olympique and Sheffield with as few as 14 players available for rotation. Super League giants Wigan Warriors arrived for a Challenge Cup tie to find the Knights without a recognised half-back in the squad.

Despite the obvious woes, the nature of some of the injuries and the character of the side are both cause for optimism for Ford.

“It really does provide a challenge for you,” he said. “I’m proud of the desire and the toughness of the boys - we just could have done with at least two halves or two hookers (against Sheffield). It wasn’t to be.

“We will be better for it.

"I just don’t see circumstances like this consistently repeating themselves.

“We’ve had a look at the activities we’re doing in training and the type of injuries we’re picking up and we don’t believe there’s a correlation. We lost two blokes to head knocks in one tackle.

"There’s not a lot we can do in training to prevent that kind of freak accident.

“We are being challenged and we’ll fight our way through.”

On back-rower Stock’s head injury - sustained in a collision with team-mate Joe Porter - Ford added: “He looked like he’d been in a road traffic accident. It’s probably one of the worst cuts I’ve ever seen and when it settles down I think he’ll be a dead ringer for Harry Potter.

“But Marcus is a tough boy. He trained (on Tuesday night) and I think he’ll want to play on the weekend.

“Everybody wants to play, we want to get out there and get this right.

“Marcus is a good player for us and if he’s fit, he’ll certainly be in contention.”

Mitigating against the ravages of injuries, the Knights have brought in four players on short-term loans.

Joe Keyes, Yusuf Aydin and Lewis Peachey all made their first appearances of their two-week deals - which can be extended - last week, while versatile Hull FC full-back Connor Wynne signed on a month’s loan on Wednesday. The 20-year-old can also fit in on the wing.

“Perry Whiteley and Jason Bass haven’t trained for a couple of weeks with minor knocks but they’re not far away,” Ford added.

“Brendan’s struggling with a hamstring. He went down with it after five or 10 minutes at the Sheffield game.

“Having another option in the halves or at full-back does give us flexibility and provides some competition for the squad.

“All teams are going to go through a tough patch. We’re going through ours at the minute and we’re confident we know we can fight our way out of it.

“I’m very hopeful we’ll have a couple of blokes back this week. Some players will make a big difference to us.

“It’s a unique period. It’s a challenge, and the boys are making a decent fist of this challenge. We just need to tidy up in one or two areas and we’ll see some considerable improvement.”

York City Knights' preliminary squad to travel to Swinton: Marsh, Bass, Salter, Atkins, K Dixon, R Dixon, Jubb, Clarkson, Scott, Cuthbertson, Baldwinson, Stock, Kirmond, Jones-Bishop, Barcoe, Washbrook, Dean, Keyes, Peachey, Aydin, Wynne.