JAMES FORD insists that he will not be using injuries as an excuse despite York City Knights being without several key players over recent weeks.

York were without both of their frontline hookers and half-backs for last weekend’s Betfred Championship defeat against Batley Bulldogs, with Kriss Brining, Will Jubb and Brendan O’Hagan all missing alongside long-term absentee Morgan Smith.

Those injuries meant that forward Danny Washbrook again stood in at half-back while outside back Jason Bass came in as a make-shift interchange hooker.

Injuries have consistently hampered York’s progress this year and particularly in the halves and at hooker.

The Knights have fielded seven different pairings at half-back this year while regular sub Brining has played just five games due to injury issues.

However, York head coach Ford has stressed the he will not be using the club’s problems in the area as an excuse.

“I don’t like it when I watch other sports and hear managers or coaches make excuses,” he said.

“We’re all faced with challenges to different degrees throughout the season and we’ve got to find a way out of it.

“That’s our job and we are doing that. We won’t make excuses around injuries.

“It has been a challenge but the players that have come in are good players and they wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe in them.”

Ford remains without Brining and O’Hagan for this weekend’s trip to Whitehaven, with the pair being out for a minimum of another fortnight.

“With Kriss, it’s not as bad as his last one where he was out for around eight weeks,” Ford explained. “But he’s going to be a couple more weeks yet, at least.

“Brendan O’Hagan has got a strain in his quad, so he’s going to be at least a couple more weeks.”

There is better news though for Jubb and Danny Kirmond, the latter of whom was isolating last week.

“Jubby picked up a dead leg against Halifax but we couldn’t take him off because Kriss got injured,” said Ford.

“He had to stay out there and it was a real brave performance from Will. We gave him right up until the last minute for him to recover from that injury, but he didn’t and he pulled out.

“We’re hopeful that he will play this week and we’re very hopeful that Danny will be available for us this week.

“He is a good professional is Danny, I’m sure he’ll have looked after himself and I’m sure he’ll be keen to play the weekend.”

While Jubb is in line for a return to the field this weekend, there may remain a spot on the bench for Bass as his replacement from the bench.

The former England Universities international featured at hooker for the first time for York against Batley having been called up at the last minute.

“Jason Bass came in at nine and I thought he did really well as an interchange nine,” said Ford.

“He’s not trained there, he’s not played there before but he’s very versatile, intelligent and he’s a good dummy half runner.

“We were confident that he’d do okay but I think he did better than that. I’d like to tell you that I knew that he was going to be that good before the game, but I was pleasantly surprised and I was proud of him.

“If Jason trains well, he could add that to the positions he can play. All being well, it won’t be the last time we see Jason at nine for us this season.

“While Kriss is injured and we’ve got strength at wing and centre, it would be really handy to have Jason in the 17 because he can play pretty much everywhere to a good level.”

It was announced earlier this week that Knights loanee Tyla Hepi would return to Castleford Tigers with his parent club playing Catalans Dragons this evening.

“It’s just another challenge,” Ford said. “We’ll see how he is on Friday and Saturday before we finalise our team and I’m hopeful that he’ll be alright.”