JAMES FORD has labelled the Odsal field as a “kid’s pitch” as York City Knights prepare to travel to Bradford Bulls on Sunday (3pm).

Bradford’s ground was shortened in width and length last year in order to accommodate stock car racing at Odsal.

The 55-metre wide pitch is some 11m narrower than that of York’s at the LNER Community Stadium and has even come in for criticism from the Bulls' own half-back Jordan Lilley.

Knights head coach Ford was keen not to use the tight pitch as an excuse ahead of the Betfred Championship clash but admitted that it would come into his side’s preparations.

“There’s less space so we’ll have to be more patient,” he said.

“On fields like that, there may be some opportunities to play around teams but they are probably going to be less frequent.

“The mindset is play through them and if you can’t play through them, finish in some good spots and be tough and prepare to work incredibly hard until the end.

“York-Bradford games are often won in minute 79 or around that stage. When you’re on a kid’s pitch, it’s probably going to lead to that as well.”

This weekend’s trip to Odsal is arguably an opportune time for the Knights to take on Bradford.

The Bulls are currently without a permanent head coach following the departure of John Kear late last month.

Despite possessing top three ambitions, at present they hold a 50-50 record of five wins and five defeats in the Championship, leaving them eighth.

A sizeable eight-point gap could be opened up between the two clubs should York come out on top in West Yorkshire.

However with that said, under interim boss Mark Dunning, Bradford may well pose a different threat to that provided at the end of Kear’s reign.

"In the game at Whitehaven (which Bradford won 34-22), they seemed a little bit freer with the ball and the half-backs looked like they’d been told they can do what they want,” said Ford.

“They were playing from different areas of the field and playing from a little bit deeper, as a typical Bradford team would do, which we’ve had a good look at.

“Dec Patton carries a lot of threat and we’ve had a good look at him and we want to get the detail right on that this week and aim up at defending him well on Sunday.”

Both sides enter the match on the back of a weekend off after the Betfred Challenge Cup semi-finals took centre stage at Elland Road.

For York, the break may well have come at an ideal time having fought to an intensely tough 30-18 win at Barrow Raiders on May Day, a victory built primarily on some stubborn second-half defence.

“Hopefully the break’s been pretty useful but we’ll see the evidence of that on Sunday,” added Ford.

“The older end of the squad got the full week off last week and they came back in on Tuesday and ripped in, which I was really pleased with.”