YORK City Knights are back in at Bootham Crescent - and they will have a marquee new signing with them.

Contracts between the club's new owners and City of York Council have finally been signed allowing James Ford's team to play at York City's home for the 2017 and 2018 seasons as part of the local authority's Community Stadium scheme.

Concerns over where they would stage fixtures had been hanging over the Knights since the crisis-hit end of last season, even after last month's takeover effectively secured their future. But new chairman Jon Flatman announced the deal at tonight's fans' forum at Huntington Sports Club, with the football club and the council likewise expressing delight the matter was now settled.

Furthermore, the Knights also unveiled Castleford Tigers full-back Ash Robson as a major signing, the fleet-footed 21-year-old - widely tipped for big things in Super League this year - forfeiting the full-time spotlight to agree a three-year deal at his hometown League One club.

Flatman said of the long-awaited ground agreement: "We are very thankful to both the council and the football club for their support in reaching agreement on the use of Bootham Crescent.

"This two-year agreement provides a home for the Knights in the city and allows us to now grow our business on and off the pitch.

"The facility is suitable for rugby league at this level and above, and I would hope fans are pleased this uncertainty has now been removed.

"We fully respect the agreement with our landlords, the football club, and look forward to continuing to work with them now and in the future.

"The council have provided investment to make the three-way partnership work ahead of the Community Stadium opening and for that we applaud their commitment to rugby league in the region."

The Knights also announced two pre-season fixtures for Bootham Crescent - against Championship big-guns London Broncos on Sunday, January 29, and Super League side Hull FC on Monday, February 13.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: "We are delighted to announce an agreement for the continuation of rugby league at Bootham Crescent for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

"We have had very positive discussions with both the Knights and York City all through this process and look forward to continued partnership working for many years to come."

A York City statement said: "Following successful discussions over the last few months with the new owners of York City Knights and City of York Council regarding rugby league being played at Bootham Crescent, we are happy these have reached a positive conclusion.

"We hope Knights supporters, coach James Ford and his players are now able to look forward to a period of stability, and we wish the Knights every success in the future."

The Knights left their old Huntington Stadium home at the end of 2014 for that ground to be redeveloped into a Community Stadium, with the plan being to play at Bootham Crescent until both clubs moved to that new arena.

But a fall-out between former chairman John Guildford and council chiefs left the club homeless in 2015 and playing fixtures at various venues, needing special dispensation from the Rugby Football League to do so.

They got back into Bootham Crescent last year but, amid uncertainty over the club's future, with Guildford threatening to close it down claiming it was unviable due to ground issues, confusion also arose over their "security of tenure". The RFL duly omitted the Knights from the 2017 League One fixture list.

However, following last month's takeover, the sport's governing body quickly reinstalled them into an updated fixture list, and now the home ground has been confirmed too.

An RFL spokesperson said: “This is fantastic news for York City Knights and their fans. Playing in the heart of the city at Bootham Crescent for the next two years is great for the game and enables the club to now concentrate on having a successful year on the field.”