YORK City Knights head coach James Ford has explained the decision that has seen Riley Dean head to Dewsbury Rams on loan.

Dean had joined York on a season-long loan from parent club Warrington Wolves at the start of the season, with the youngster providing cover for long-term absentee Morgan Smith.

However Dean has fallen down the pecking order in the halves following Brendan O'Hagan's return to fitness and Corey Johnson's arrival on loan from Leeds Rhinos.

And, in order to get some further game time, the 19-year-old has joined fellow Betfred Championship outfit Dewsbury until the end of the year.

“He’s a Warrington player and he’s gone to Dewsbury, so we wish him all the best," explained Ford.

"Riley Dean has got the potential to be a really good player and to become a really good player, he needs to play.

“And he wasn’t going to play over Brendan O’Hagan, Matty Marsh and Corey Johnson.

“I didn’t think that it was right for him and his development.

"Lee Greenwood (Dewsbury coach) spoke to me and asked me what I was doing with him and they were a little bit short in the halves.

“And I hope that he plays really well for Dewsbury.

“We didn’t always agree on stuff in terms of how the game should be played, but that’s normal when you’re talking to half-backs.

“The half-backs are the alpha males aren’t they?

"As a young man, he’s a great kid and an absolute lovely young man.”

While York were without Dean for the weekend's 34-20 win over Widnes Vikings, they were able to again call upon another loanee.

Back-rower James McDonnell, in his second spell with the Knights from Wigan Warriors, made an impressive return and assisted O'Hagan hat-trick try.

Ford said: “Macca has got good leg speed for a back-rower. He changes direction well, causes teams problems and he’s aggressive.

“He’s not played for a while and I think he could have timed some of his contacts a little bit better.

“But he’s a really serious and driven young man and he’ll be looking at his game this week and I know I’ll get a better James McDonnell next week.”

McDonnell's arrival may prove to be pivotal for York given the injury sustained by fellow second-rower Danny Kirmond in the win over Widnes.

“He’s tweaked his hamstring, which is a shame because I think he’s found some form and he made a cracking line break against Widnes," said Ford.

“I thought he played really well against Swinton as well, so we’ll miss Danny.

“He doesn’t think it’s a bad one, but as we’ve seen with (Marcus) Stock, (Kriss) Brining and O’Hagan, you just don’t know."

Ford will also be glad of having another high-quality forward in his squad as pack member Stock joins the growing list of Knights players to have undergone isolation this year amid coronavirus protocols.

“Kieran Dixon has got Covid, Jason Bass has got Covid, Aidan McGowan has got Covid and Marcus Stock is a close contact," reported the coach.

“And Adam Cuthbertson has got a bit of a sore knee.

“We had some disruption on Saturday in terms of the team changing about three times.

"My head fell off for 10 minutes but then I got my composure. I’m really proud of how the boys dealt with that disruption."

Ford laughed: “If this is the new normal, then I might look for a new job.

"This is a real challenge but I’m really proud of how the boys have dealt with all the disruption this year.

“It shows how committed they are and the level of players we’ve got.”