HOOKER Kriss Brining will return to the York City Knights squad this weekend following his lengthy spell out injured.

Brining has been absent since picking up a hamstring injury in the first competitive game of the 2021 season as York won 30-6 away to Sheffield Eagles in the Betfred Challenge Cup.

The hooker ran out of dummy half against Sheffield but pulled up with hamstring issue and was immediately withdrawn.

In his absence, the Knights have utilised forward Danny Washbrook as their spare hooker off the bench, with Will Jubb starting at nine.

“We’re getting closer," said York head coach James Ford on the club's injury situation. "Kriss Brining will be in the 21-man squad, as will Tyme Dow-Nikau.

“Whether I select them is another matter, but they’ve both come through a tough week of conditioning with the fitness staff and this week they’re training with the team as normal.

“Kriss is a real key player for us, when he’s fit. He’s a real handful off the back of quick rucks, a key personality for us, carries threat on goal line and most importantly for me, he defends well.

“He carries lots of contact in either shoulder, he goes to ground tight and pins well and he works hard defensively.

“I’m looking forward to including Kriss in the 17, whether that’s this week or the week after.”

Ford also confirmed that forwards Danny Kirmond and Yusuf Aydin are both available for selection again after overcoming their injury issues.

“Yusuf Aydin will definitely be in the 21 this week," added Ford. "I think we’ve missed Yusuf and his work ethic, aggression and defensive detail.

“Kirmo is available. He passed his concussion protocol last week. He could have played, at a push, but we had Scotty (Sam Scott) and Macca (James McDonnell) available, who both had strong games.

“I’m no concussion expert, but I would assume that the longer you give a player, the better it is for them in terms of picking up another one.

“We felt that with the personnel we had available, we could afford to give Danny another week.”

The Knights do however remain without Brendan O'Hagan who has a hamstring problem. It is hoped that the half-back that can return for the trip to Bradford Bulls next week.

“He’s spending this week with the conditioning team, with a view to getting ready to train with us and the team next week," said Ford.

Reporting on injured forwards Jack Teanby and Tim Spears, Ford added: “Jack's progressing really well. Teanby is probably in the same boat as O’Hagan, where he’s probably going to be in the 21 next week.

“Tim is getting close with his calf issue. He’s not trained with the conditioning staff or us yet, he’s just been doing his rehab. I think he may be a little bit longer."

The current position means that York continue to get closer to a fully fit squad, with the exception of long-term absentee Morgan Smith (ACL).

Ford said: “Having more senior and more consistent players available will put more pressure on people to up their games, up their standards in training or ultimately they won’t get the opportunity to play."

York face Oldham on Sunday on the back of a 35-14 win at Widnes Vikings.

Ford was critical of his side's first-half performance post-match and insisted that the club's standards remain high.

The head coach said: “We’ve had a good, thorough chat with the players and shown them exactly what we were disappointed with and we’re challenging to have higher standards.

“We don’t think that it’s acceptable as a club and as a collective to do some of the things that we did in the game.

“We’ve got some good personnel, some great facilities and a fantastic fan base and we’re aspiring to be right at the top of this division.

“Some of the things that we did in the game won’t put us there.

"We’ve had some awkward conversations and we feel that we need to uphold higher standards and to be able to challenge people for not attaining those standards.

“But, at the same time, we need to reward people for hitting those standards too.”