THE presence of James Ford was the decisive factor in Liam Harris’ return to York City Knights, the half-back has revealed.

Harris has penned a one-year permanent deal at York following two previous loan spells at the club inn 2017 and 2019.

The 24-year-old arrives from Betfred Championship rivals Halifax Panthers who he helped earn a third-placed finish earlier this year, having been a key part of the Knights’ run-in to the same position in the last completed season.

Now entering his third spell with York, Harris explained that head coach Ford has a major pull in convincing him to head for the LNER Community Stadium.

“I probably wouldn’t have signed if he wasn’t the coach so that says a lot about him and our relationship has been well documented,” said Harris.

“He brings the best out of his players and I’m looking forward to kicking on under his management again.

“He knows I’ve always been honest with him and I’ve always given a hundred per cent when I’ve worked with him.

“He cares about his players and I think he knows he can get the best out of me.”

Harris believes he is a much-improved player since his last appearance in a York shirt, an exciting prospect given how previous performances caught the eye of Knights fans.

He said: “I came back in 2019 a better player after 2017 and, obviously, I’ve been away to Halifax and I feel I’m coming back an even better player now and hopefully that continues.

“I’m maturing and my performances are showing that.

“Hopefully, I can find another level to that, really kick on and help the team have a really successful year.”

York look set to start the 2022 season with Harris and Jamie Ellis as their starting half-back pairing, with the latter also arriving on a permanent deal after a loan spell from Betfred Super League side Leigh Centurions last month.

Although yet to take to the field together for York, the duo are already well acquainted from their time at Hull KR.

“It’s funny because I roomed with Jamie in Tenerife on a pre-season camp with Hull KR and I made my debut for Hull KR with Jamie,” recalled the Hull-born playmaker.

“He’s really experienced, I know how good he can be so I’m really looking forward to learning off him and, hopefully, he can help me player better as well.”

Harris will also link up with a few previous team-mates from his past spells at the club.

“They’re good friends, people like Will (Jubb) and Matty (Marsh) I’ve known for years and I’m looking forward to getting back playing with them,” he continued.

“I suppose it helps that I’ve got combinations with a lot of people in that team and, while there will be plenty of new faces, it always helps when you’ve played with a number of them before.”

Harris becomes the 10th confirmed member of York’s squad for the 2022.

Ford has also brought in fellow new recruits Ellis and winger Joe Brown from Bradford Bulls.

Knights Supporters Society (KSS) Player of the Year Matty Marsh as well as youngsters AJ Towse, Myles Harrison and Toby Warren are all contracted to York until the end of the 2023 season.

Forwards Will Jubb, Jack Teanby and Marcus Stock have meanwhile agreed further one-year deals for the 2022 campaign.