JAMES FORD sees new signing Mikey Lewis featuring at full-back for York City Knights after sealing a one-month loan from Hull Kingston Rovers.

Lewis joined York earlier this week and, having played predominantly as a half-back during his career, was expected to feature in the halves alongside Riley Dean with Matty Marsh reverting back to full-back.

However, Knights head coach Ford has outlined his intention to utilise Lewis at full-back, with the 19-year-old likely to come in for his York debut against Widnes Vikings on Sunday (3pm).

“I saw him play full-back for Hull KR against Salford and I thought that he was absolutely tremendous,” enthused Ford on his new recruit.

“I know he came into the team late that day because I spoke to Greg (Minikin) and he hadn’t practised an awful lot there.

“I was blown away by the level of his performance with him not being a regular full-back. With a little bit of guidance and support he could become a real threat back there.

“But there are a bits at full-back that he’s going to have to learn because it’s a different position.”

The signing of Lewis should hopefully bring some consistency to the full-back position where, because of injury problems, numerous players have featured for York so far in 2021.

Loanee Connor Wynne (now back at parent club Hull FC), Marsh, Kieran Dixon, Ben Jones-Bishop and Myles Harrison have all taken the role at various points this year.

Explaining how the move came about, Ford continued: “We lost Connor Wynne in the run-up to the Featherstone game. We knew that that was coming with Jake Connor’s suspension - it didn’t catch us by too much of a surprise.

“We played Kieran at full-back, who has been excellent for us on the wing, but he’s probably not a full-back.

“He hasn’t spent a lot of time back there practising and on occasions we just didn’t have the shape to move the ball as we’d planned.

“I’m not blaming Kieran for that, he’s a fantastic winger and he’s been great for us.

“But we just needed a bit more of a passing threat at full-back and someone who could contribute to that shape and move the ball a little bit more.”

Characterising Lewis as a player, Ford added: “He’s a confident young man and borderline cocky. But, that’s not a bad thing.

“He’s strong, he’s quick, with his footwork he’s a running threat off any kind of ruck win or offload opportunity.

“He’s played a lot of rugby league at half-back so he understands the attacking structure side of things well.

“I just think the four of him, Marshy, Brendan (O’Hagan), Riley (Dean) all going for the three spots puts us in a really good position.”

The aforementioned O’Hagan has been missing since the defeat to Sheffield Eagles just over a month ago.

O’Hagan, Kriss Brining, Tyme Dow-Nikau and Perry Whiteley - all of whom missed the Featherstone game last week - are hoped to be available for next week, Ford reported.

Former captain Tim Spears is also likely to return next week against Oldham or Bradford Bulls in a fortnight’s time because of his calf injury.

Back-rower Danny Kirmond will need to pass the relevant concussion protocols before being declared fit to face Widnes.

“I keep saying it, but we’re not far off being in a real healthy position where we can have competition for places and some stability in our selections,” insisted Ford.

“The players we’ve got available are good players so we certainly don’t use losing those players as an excuse.”

Ford also said that forward Adam Cuthbertson will be assessed in training this week on his knee issue ahead of a potential recall.

He said: “I think it’s important for us to have Adam and Chris (Clarkson) in the side. They both give us something that we’ve been missing on occasions.

“The effort, bravery and toughness through the team is fantastic and I’d never ever knock that but on occasion we’ve lacked that little bit of shape around the middle.”