JAMES FORD has said York City Knights are “actively looking” for players, following Mikey Lewis’ return to Hull Kingston Rovers.

It was confirmed earlier this week that Lewis would head back to his parent club after making four appearances on loan at York.

The 19-year-old’s departure means that Warrington Wolves’ Riley Dean is the Knights’ sole remaining loanee in their squad.

And head coach Ford has said that the club remain on the lookout for new talent to bring in, where appropriate.

“We’re always looking to retain our best players or to add players to the squad, if we think that the individual suits and strengthens us,” said Ford. “Those conversations are always going on.

“But some clubs are stretched a little bit thin at the minute, so it is difficult. We are actively looking but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will bring in another half.

“We’ve got Brendan O’Hagan, Riley Dean and Matty Marsh, who has played well there. We’re always looking at players that will strengthen the squad, whatever position that is.”

Lewis played three of his four matches with the Knights at full-back, with Ford insisting that he saw the youngster as part of a back three.

However, upon his return, Hull KR coach Tony Smith stated that Lewis is not a full-back and added that “it would have been of more benefit to Mikey had he have been able to play half-back”.

Those comments came in the same week as out-and-out full-back Will Dagger’s loan to York’s Betfred Championship rivals Featherstone Rovers, leaving Lewis as the Robins’ likely full-back cover.

“I didn’t know what to make of it, to be honest,” said Ford in response. “Mikey is a Hull KR player and it’s up to Tony what he does with him.

“I don’t want to fall out with anybody and if that’s what Tony thinks, that’s what Tony thinks and that’s fine by me.

“Did Mikey enjoy his time at York? Yes. Do I feel like we’ve helped him improve as a player? Yes. Did I enjoy working with him? Absolutely, and he’s got a lot of potential.

“Do I think he’s a ready-made player, whether that’s as a half-back or a full-back or any other position at this minute in time? No.

“I think he’s got some stuff to improve on and hopefully he will improve on those.

“He’s got plenty of potential and hopefully he can keep exciting us all when he is out there.”

Lewis and Dean started together in the halves in last week’s 1895 Cup semi-final win over Swinton Lions at the LNER Community Stadium. It seems probable that O’Hagan will now replace Lewis.

Ford confirmed that the Australian and winger Ben Jones-Bishop, who were both absent last week, will be in contention for the trip to Halifax Panthers on Sunday morning as Championship action resumes.

“Both of them trained on Tuesday so we’ll check their wellness,” reported the head coach

“We’ll see how they get through training and hopefully they’ll be in with a shout for the weekend.”

There was also positive news for half-back Morgan Smith, who suffered a long-term ACL injury after his arrival in pre-season from London Broncos.

Ford said: “He did his first running session on Tuesday and he’s worked tremendously hard to get back to where he is at now.

“There’s plenty of positive signs surrounding his recovery. We’re really hopeful around Morgan.

“A lot of the markers that he’s set he’s surpassing them in his rehab. Morgan will want to play (this year), but we want to do what is right for Morgan.”

Forward Danny Kirmond is unlikely to play for York this week due to a shoulder injury.