HEAD coach James Ford has signed a new deal with York City Knights to keep him at the club until the end of the 2024 season.

Ford has been in charge at York since the start of the 2015 season and has since led the club to a League One title in 2018 and a third-placed play-off finish in the Betfred Championship the following year.

Last season, the Knights fell to a disappointing ninth, although they did reach the final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

But York have displayed their faith in Ford, who is thought to be one of the best young coaches outside Betfred Super League by many in the sport, with a long-term contract.

"I’m absolutely delighted," Ford said. "It’s a project that I’m really enjoying and I think that, over the time I’ve been here, the progress the club has made is very clear and evident.

"The thing that excites me the most, however, is the potential of the club.

"I don’t think we’ve got anywhere close to fulfilling the club’s potential yet which is really exciting."

The deal continues Ford's long-association with York and, should he remain coach until 2024, he will have been at the club for 14 years.

Looking back at his debut season in charge, Ford recalled: "I thought in 2015, when I took over, that I was ready to be head coach and have a positive impact on the club and it’s players.

"Looking back now, I think the saying we often use is ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and I’ve learned so much in that time.

"I feel like I’ve improved as a person and a coach a fair bit since 2015 and I think 2021 played a big part in that.

"I’ve often said you don’t always learn from winning competitions and positivity.

"You can learn a lot in other ways as well and I feel that last season was a really good exercise in terms of me learning about recruitment and retention, as well as being put in situations I couldn’t have imagined would exist in rugby league.

"But I’ve been in those situations now and it wasn’t nice – it was incredibly difficult – but that’s now in my toolkit and, if and when I’m challenged like that again, I’ve been through it and we’ve been through it as a club and we will be stronger for it."

When asked about his goals for the next three years, Ford replied: It’s between Jon (Flatman, chairman) and I but anybody who knows me is aware of where I want to take this club.

"I want to be at a club that matches my ambition and I am.

"I’m confident in the leadership above me and I’m absolutely looking forward to the next three years."

The most immediate challenge for Ford is a return to the Championship play-offs after missing out in 2021.

Over the off-season, there has been an overhaul in the squad as York eye a top six finish.

"We’ve got a good mix of experience and youth and, with those experienced players that we have kept, I’m confident that they’re willing to invest in the areas of the game that I believe are really important," Ford explained.

"They will be complemented by some young, hungry players and we’ve signed some x-factor as well."