BEN COCKAYNE admits that he will “no doubt disagree” with head coach James Ford at York City Knights, but insists that is no bad thing.

Cockayne was named as York’s new assistant coach on Monday, succeeding Brett Delaney, who departed after eight months at the club for Betfred Super League side Hull KR.

The appointment marked the 39-year-old’s return to the Knights, having won the Betfred League One title in 2018 during a memorable one-and-a-half-season spell with Ford’s side.

The former Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity back is taking up his first role as a backroom staff member but was keen to stress that he will not be afraid to speak his mind with long-serving boss Ford with whom he has a “really strong relationship.”

“Fordy was a coach that put faith into his senior players and would always come to those for discussions and their opinions, although he would obviously have the final say,” Cockayne reflected on his time as a player at York.

“But he was an open-minded coach and would listen to his senior playing group and I think that’s where we built a really good relationship and strong mutual respect.

“I think this will be a partnership that will work well. I think James would agree with this and wouldn’t mind me saying it, but I’ve no doubt that we’ll disagree on things.

“I’m quite strong-minded, so we’ll probably have debates and discussions where we’ll disagree, but I think he likes that. That’s quite a good positive attribute as an assistant.”

The tight link between Ford and Cockayne is evident. The Knights boss has often discussed Cockayne, alongside Tim Spears and Graeme Horne, in highlighting the influence of senior players at a club, even since the back’s first retirement three years ago.

“I’ve worked with some really good coaches throughout my career and the majority of those have been in either Super League or a full-time environment,” added Cockayne.

“When I first signed for York, when we were in League One, the attention to detail Fordy put into his team was fantastic.

“Plus, we had a really solid mutual respect. From me, it was from the way he delivers to his team, his expectations and his attention to detail.

“From his point of view, without sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet, I was somebody that just tries hard and has got a good work ethic and attitude.

“Maybe that’s what attracted him to me along with his skillset to be his assistant. I think that it will work really well.”

A move into coaching comes as little surprise to those close to Cockayne, who departed as a player at Doncaster to head back to York.

Coaching roles at Normanton Knights and with Hull KR’s youth sides have preceded his position.

“Even when I first started playing, I spent some time coaching at my amateur club, Normanton Knights, so I’ve always had my hand in coaching and always been open to it,” revealed Cockayne.

“The job at Hull KR was fantastic and something that I really enjoyed.

“Being at a quality Championship club as an assistant coach, where you’re dealing with quality players, where a lot have played at the top tier of the game, that's going to be very different.

“But it’s something that I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into.”