JAMES FORD has noted that people can “certainly expect at least two” of an injured York City Knights trio to feature in their clash with Whitehaven on Sunday (3pm).

York travel to Betfred Championship relegation-battlers Whitehaven this weekend in their first game back from this month’s international break.

The Knights have been impacted in recent weeks by injuries to several key players, including Brendan O’Hagan, Ronan Michael and Levi Edwards.

O’Hagan injured his hamstring against Bradford Bulls last month and has not featured for York since.

Michael, who is on loan from Huddersfield Giants, last played for the Knights in March, having suffered an injury that has been unspecified by the club.

Edwards, meanwhile, has not played for York since injuring his ankle in April.

When asked if Edwards, O’Hagan and Michael would be available, Ford replied: “Yes, up to now.

“We trained on Tuesday and O’Hagan trained, Michael trained and we’re expecting Edwards from Leeds, he’s been training with them and he’s been given the all clear.

“Whether all three will feature this week, I’m not sure.

“I think that’d be one heck of a gamble, following on from last year to put three lads in all at the same time, but you can certainly expect at least two of them.”

“They are fit, they are ready to go and they want to play, but we were burned a little bit by stuff like this.

“I remember the Sheffield game at home last year, I think we lost three players to injury in the first 20 minutes.

“You need to guard yourself as best you can and do what’s best for the team with regards to bringing players back from injuries like this.”

Elsewhere, it appears that centre Jacob Ogden and winger Will Oakes may miss the trip to Whitehaven through injury.

Ford, though, feels that both players are progressing well with their injuries.

“Ogden is close, or closer anyway," he said. “He did a little bit on Tuesday and we’ll see how he reacted to that. I don’t see him being a long term absence.

“Will Oakes has a condition called osteitis pubis, which is an inflammation injury in the pubic bone.

“It causes quite a lot of pain and discomfort in his groin and sometimes his hamstring and abdomen. He went for a procedure to try and settle it down but unfortunately there was a slight complication with it. 

“We feel that we’re managing that now and getting Will close to being back to training. He did a little bit on Tuesday, we want to see how he reacts to that before we tweak the rest of his rehabilitation.

“I’m hopeful we’ll have him back pretty soon, he’s a key player for us. He brings the ball back out of yardage tremendously well, as well as any winger in the division. 

"I think on occasion we’ve missed him, we’re working really hard to try and get him back.

“Everyone else who was in the 17 (against Widnes) is available. “

The Knights return from the break having played three games within the two weeks leading up to it, including trips to both Sheffield and Widnes.

The break was the final one of the current season, with the calendar now completely focused on league fixtures.

“It was probably needed to be honest, with three games in nine days,” reflected Ford. 

“There’s three weeks of work crammed into a really short period, so it’s pretty stressful for everybody, especially for the players but for the staff also. 

“Coming out of that I afforded myself a couple of days off to try and refresh and come back the best version of myself for the rest of the season and likewise with the players.”

“I’ve said a few times we’ve not got the biggest squad, so I didn’t feel we could chase all the competitions. 

“We’ve been prioritising the league, it’s helped us bring people like Brendan O’Hagan back to fitness at a manageable rate. 

“Now we’re coming into the second half of the season and we’re on the edge of having a number of players come back into the team, hopefully we can find a settled 17, find some form and take that into the play-offs.”