YORK City Knights' new regime have pulled off a notable coup to mark their takeover - signing Featherstone Rovers' outgoing captain, Tim Spears.

The veteran packman, 31, has been training with James Ford's new-look squad and the League One club have now confirmed he has agreed a one-year deal following his release from Post Office Road.

Spears led Rovers into the Middle Eights last season having beaten Bradford Bulls to fourth spot in the Championship. He also helped them win four consecutive Championship League Leaders Shields from 2010 to 2013, as well as the Championship Shield in 2015.

"Tim is a fantastic signing," said head coach Ford. "I'm excited about him being here with us.

"He will be good for the team and for the young players we have. He's played for some really good coaches and he will have a few little tips here and there to pass on, which will help facilitate the development of our players and our team as a whole.

"He's also obviously a very good player in his own right."

Spears played 27 times last season, taking his total number of appearances for the Flat Cappers to 197 since joining ahead of the 2009 campaign, rarely missing a game in these last eight years. He has notched 19 tries.

He was previously with Batley Bulldogs for four years, having joined from Castleford, where he began his career. He also had a spell on loan at Dewsbury while on the Tigers' books.

He becomes the sixth player officially confirmed in the Knights' squad for 2017, after Ed Smith, Jonny Presley, Tommy Saxton and Pat Smith, who are retained from this year, and young newcomer Danny Sowerby, who has arrived from Bradford. More are to follow in the coming days.

Asked if Spears was the Knights' marquee signing for 2017, Ford said: "I think we are making a number of exciting signings.

"Tim brings a degree of experience and professionalism to the club, which I'm really pleased about, and he will play a part in the culture here on and off the field."

The Knights have lost the bulk of their first-choice 2016 pack, mainly due to the pre-takeover uncertainty at the club, with captain Jack Aldous and big Brett Waller going to Newcastle, vice-captain Mike Emmett and Josh Tonks signing for Keighley, and Russ Spiers rejoining Doncaster.

Ford reckons Spears, a powerful 5ft 11in second-row or loose-forward, would be a like-for like replacement for Emmett - but with more experience at the top of the Championship.

"He plays big minutes at loose-forward and gets through a lot of work," he explained.

"I really like Mike Emmett but Tim's probably played at a slightly higher level. I was surprised he was available and I wanted to make sure we got him.

"I'm confident Tim can improve all the other players around him as well as being a quality player himself."

Asked why Featherstone would release him, Ford said: "I know they initially made Tim an offer but things in sport change and move on.

"It's not for me to know Featherstone's dealings but Tim became available and we really wanted to bring him here for a lot of reasons and I'm really pleased we've got him.

"In my opinion he's still very much got it. He was captain of one of the biggest clubs outside Super League and of a team that made the Middle Eights."