JAMES FORD expressed his sympathy for the handful of York City Knights players who missed out on the weekend’s 1895 Cup final at Wembley Stadium due to the coronavirus.

The final, which Featherstone won 41-34, was put in considerable doubt before the game after the Rovers reported numerous positive coronavirus tests.

Featherstone later confirmed their participation in the game after a clear round of testing among the 17 players that featured at Wembley, though they were without several players as well as head coach James Webster for the Betfred Challenge Cup curtain raiser.

Likewise, York were unable to select at least six players for the game at the national stadium because of coronavirus-related concerns.

“Baldy (Jordan Baldwinson) got pinged as he was getting on the bus,” revealed head coach Ford.

“I’m devastated for him and hopefully he’ll get another to compete in a game like this. James Green was a close contact so he missed out.

“Ryan Atkins, who has been one of our best performers week in week out has unfortunately contracted Covid.

“Liam Salter, who has been a strong performer for us since he’s been at the club, picked it up late as did young Riley Dean.”

Ford, who was also without Matty Marsh due to his return protocol from coronavirus, added: “It’s not been great but we had to anticipate this a little bit following on from the Euros and the amount of contact people have had with each as of late.”

After the late scare around the game's viability, Ford was glad to see the match played, despite the result.

He said: “That was the most important thing, that the supporters and sponsors of both clubs got a game they could celebrate.

“The players from both sides gave their all. It’s the first time that I’ve been to Wembley and I’ve been absolutely blown away by it.

“When we walked in, I was astonished by the standard of the stadium and the facilities. I’m delighted we’ve been able to come here.”