CHALLENGE Cup winner Tommy Saxton is to have one last season in the professional arena - and all being well it will be with York City Knights.

Bradford Bulls starlet Danny Sowerby - as predicted by The Press a fortnight ago - has also agreed a deal with the new-look club, with the pair becoming the third and fourth players to be confirmed as 2017 squad members by head coach James Ford.

Like with Press Player of the Year Ed Smith and veteran half-back Jonny Presley, the duo have put pen to paper on provisional contracts which will be rubber-stamped once the club, to be taken over by a new consortium, get the green light from City of York Council to continue playing at Bootham Crescent and thus rejoin the Kingstone Press League One ranks. The target date for the takeover to be completed is December 1.

The Press understands that, while a number of players have now left the club since the end of the season, Josh Tonks being the latest, several more have agreed terms behind the scenes - underlining the confidence in the new board that agreements will be reached with the council.

Ford says both Saxton and Sowerby, at opposite ends of their careers, have different reasons to get stuck into pre-season training. And he reckons both can play major roles next year.

Winger Saxton, 33, played for Super League clubs Castleford, Hull, Wakefield and Salford earlier in his career, winning the Challenge Cup with Hull in 2005, before starring for six seasons with Championship big-guns Featherstone and then signing for Halifax in 2015.

He joined the Knights, initially on loan, in May this year, and scored three tries in 13 appearances, being a key member of the team that stuck together through the off-field strife.

Ford now wants him to finish his playing days on a high note. He said: "He's had a fantastic career - he's won the Challenge Cup, played in Super League and been outstanding in the Championship for a number of years.

"He's still got plenty to offer. He might not have the pace of old but he's experienced, he brings quality, and he's different to other wingers. He gets you on the front foot with his offload game which can speed things up.

"There's some hard work in front of him to get him into the right physical condition but he deserves a great season with which to finish his career.

"If he's prepared to do that and make a few sacrifices he can have a real year to remember."

Half-back Sowerby, who previously had a spell in Castleford's academy, was a regular scorer for Bradford's under-19s this year, averaging virtually one a game.

Ford said: "He's a player with his best years in front of him.

"He's young, talented, energetic, driven. He wants to be the best he can be. They're all good ingredients to have alongside the ability he's got.

"He's a good runner of the ball - he can beat people - and his try record for Bradford's academy speaks for itself. He's also tenacious and will get stuck in.

"I've spoken about him to other clubs, as well as Bradford, and they all speak highly of him. There is some distance to travel but he's got the improvement in him and he's got the right attitude.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how far he can develop over the next season and beyond."

Asked why Bradford would let him go, Ford said: "They have four already established half-backs and, while they would have wanted to keep him, and Super League clubs were also looking at him, it is tough for a 19-year-old half-back to play week in week out at that level.

"That might be a problem with the system but I'm not going to complain too much at this point because it's meant we can get him. Bradford have lost a player with bags of potential, but we've benefited."