IT'S probably quite important to head towards promotion play-offs with your half-backs firing - so it could be a bit of a boon for York City Knights that Jonny Presley will enter them as the new Press Player of the Month.

Presley has topped the poll for August, pipping Brad Nicholson to the accolade, with honourable mentions also going to Josh Tonks, Mark Applegarth and Ed Smith, the latter being hampered in the standings by missing the Oxford game due to suspension.

Diminutive playmaker Presley earned top marks in that game and was also standout player in the comeback, in vain, against North Wales - the team's only defeat throughout the month.

Head coach James Ford reckoned the veteran former Keighley and Featherstone ace can yet get better too.

"I think it could have gone to a number of people after some high-calibre performances over the last month, especially taking into account three games in a week," said Ford of the accolade.

"I'm really pleased for Jonny. He's improved throughout the season. Even at his age, he's keen to learn on and off the field and that's one of the reasons that, in my opinion, he's playing some of his best rugby in a long time.

"I still think there's another level for him and, with his approach to life and the game, he can make that step."

Presley, 31, is only 22 months younger than Ford himself, who hung up his boots last year around the time he turned 32.

Ford joked: "People still call him 'young Jonny Presley', so that says something.

"There are definitely a few years left in him. He looks after himself remarkably well, certainly better than me at that age, which is testament to his professionalism and athletic ability."

The monthly award garners Presley three bonus points for his Press Player of the Year tally to lift him up to joint sixth. The leaderboard is headed by Greg Minikin, with Smith and Tonks the only players who can mathematically catch him.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Minikin 27pts, E Smith 23, Tonks 17, Brining 13, Nicholson 11, Presley 10, Howden 10, Applegarth 10, Cunningham 8, Haynes 7, Aldous 5, P Smith 5, Morrison 4, Clare 4, Mallinder 4, B Dent 3, A Dent 2, Blagbrough 2, Learmonth 2, Roche 1, Aspinall 1, Craig 1, Carter 1.

ON the subject of praise from the head coach, James Ford was also quick to laud prop star Jack Aldous ahead of his 100th appearance for the Knights tomorrow in the game at North Wales.

As reported, the 24-year-old former Hull academy player reaches the notable century achievement in only his fourth full season at the club, having missed only eight games in that time. He has also collected two Press Player of the Year awards.

Said Ford: "I think it demonstrates how consistent, reliable and durable he is.

"He plays not only a lot of games but also a lot of minutes in those games.

"He's very important to us in both attack and defence, and it's pleasing to see him growing into a leadership role this year as well."

Aldous has been named for all but one of his 25 appearances under Ford as a starting prop in his number ten shirt, but he effectively plays a modern-day loose-forward role. He is named at number 13 in Ford's provisional line-up for tomorrow's trip to North Wales.

Explained Ford: "He's a 'middle player'. With how teams set up in the modern day, lots of them use a player like Jack in a loose-forward role, playing big minutes in the middle, and he's been fantastic for us there."

ALSO poised for a personal milestone tomorrow is Nev Morrison, who likewise reaches a century of first-team games in his career.

The 25-year-old winger has so played 25 times for York - 22 this year plus three on loan in 2013 - to go with 39 appearances for Doncaster in 2011 and 2014, 31 for Sheffield in 2012 and 2013, and four on loan at Gloucestershire All Golds in 2013.

Said boss James Ford: "It's a good achievement. He's played for a few clubs, most notably Sheffield, and to get to 100 appearances at this level shows the calibre of the player we've got.

"I'm sure he'll be keen to mark the milestone by producing a quality performance."

A QUICK heads up for anyone going to the North Wales game tomorrow.

The Tour of Britain cycling race is currently going on and tomorrow's stage ends Wrexham, with a rolling road block set to be utilised.

The riders are not due in until about 3.30pm, an hour after the 2.30pm kick off at the Racecourse Ground, so organisers are predicting minimal disruption for rugby fans. But it might be wise to head off early just in case.

Oh, and don't park on nearby Rhosddu Road, where the road block will be in place.

Regarding the event clash, Crusaders director Jamie Thomas said: “It’s disappointing to have a major event like the Tour of Britain on the same day as an important final home game, where we’ll be battling for a play off spot.

“Every year, we get the opportunity to advise the RFL about dates we would prefer not have home games on due to other events – football, Six Nations and so on. Unfortunately, the window had closed before the tour date was announced. To then change the date is a bit problematic."

HERE'S one for the record books - Knights hooker Kriss Brining will go down as the joint top scorer in the 2015 Challenge Cup.

Brining and Leigh Centurions ace Ryan Brierley both notched six tries in the competition this year, with the York favourite bagging his against South Wales Scorpions (one), Featherstone Lions (two) and Leigh Miners Rangers (three) in rounds three, four and five.

Tom Briscoe did his best to usurp the leading pair with his record five tries in a final in Leeds' hammering of Hull KR in last week's disappointingly one-sided Wembley showpiece - the 50-0 scoreline being a record too.

But he ended joint-third in the 2015 list as a whole alongside Hull KR's Josh Mantellato, Warrington's Ben Currie and Mark Percival, of York's sixth-round conquerors St Helens, who all finished with five.

TALKING of try-scorers, how good is it to see Knights product Tom Lineham topping the Super League scoring charts this season.

The 22-year-old speedster, who played rugby union as a youngster for York before switching codes during his time at York College and quickly being snapped up by the Knights, is in his fourth season with Hull, with 50 tries in 65 Airlie Birds appearances to his name so far, despite suffering two broken legs in that time.

He tops the Super League charts this season alongside Wigan's Joe Burgess, both with 21. Huddersfield's Jermaine McGillvary is third with 19, one ahead of Castleford's Justin Carney on 18.

Lineham had blasted onto the scene at Huntington Stadium as a 17-year-old in 2010, scoring 11 tries in 18 appearances and being nominated for the Championship One (League One) Young Player of the Year award. A knee reconstruction sidelined him the following year - and also put his Hull move on ice - but he made his Super League debut the following season.

He was briefly back at York in 2013 on dual-reg, scoring four tries in two games, before going back to the KC Stadium and going on to win his club's Young Player of the year gong and Super League's Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year Medal.

He is joining Warrington next year, with Hull rumoured to be receiving £125,000 transfer fee. None of which will be seen by York, of course.