DANNY KIRMOND says he is embracing the challenge of taking on "the Tim Spears role" at York City Knights this season.

Former York captain Spears retired at the end of last year having had five successful years at the Knights.

The ex-skipper was a vocal on-field leader in the sides which won the Betfred League One title in 2018 and earned a third-placed finish in the Betfred Championship the following year.

Having now hung up his boots, Kirmond, the oldest player in the York squad at 36, has stepped into Spears' breach as the squad's leader and it is a role he is relishing.

"I suppose my role has changed a little bit this year," said Kirmond. "Spearsy has gone, which left a hole in terms of the leadership and experience.

"I think I'm now the oldest by about three years, so I suppose I've just naturally fallen into the Tim Spears role.

"But that's something that I'm really happy to do, to help out with the younger players here and there and fill that senior role.

"Spearsy's boots take a lot of filling, to be honest. Last year, he gave me my zest for the game back did Tim.

"He was a great team-mate and someone that got an extra 10 per cent out of everybody else when he was on the field.

"If you've got someone in the team that can do that, it's a great asset for the team. I'm not saying that I do it quite as well as Spearsy but I'm trying," Kirmond laughed.

The former England international revealed that his mentoring of the team's younger players mainly centres around fellow back-rower Toby Warren, who is half Kirmond's age at 18.

"He's a similar style of player to myself when I was a bit younger, although I'm a bit slower than Toby now," chuckled Kirmond.

"I do video sessions with Toby, along with Chris Clarkson and Pauli Pauli as well.

"At the start of the week, we'll go through our clips together and look at things we should be working on and what we can do differently.

"It's about trying to mentor Toby in that role. He's getting game time with Leeds Rhinos (Academy) now so we always watch how he gets on with them.

"There's a lot of feedback and video sessions for the kids these days, which helps them progress a lot quicker, and that's one of the biggest changes from when I was a youngster."

Kirmond is set to start in York's Betfred Championship trip to Workington Town on Sunday (2pm) with the Knights seeking to continue the Cumbrian club's winless start to the year.

There is no underestimation of the Knights' opponents though from Kirmond.

He said: "It'll be difficult. Chris Thorman has done a really good job up there as coach.

"I played with Chris at Huddersfield, he was the captain there, so I know exactly what he demands out of players.

"He's a real leader and he can get the best out of anyone that's in the team.

"But Cumbria is always where I love going to play. It's always a great atmosphere and rugby league really is in their blood up there.

"They play with a lot of passion and support their teams with a lot of passion.

"For us, we've got to match that. Attitude and effort are the two things that you've got to go up to Cumbria with."