NEWCASTLE Thunder could arrive at Bootham Crescent tomorrow desperate for points - with real hope of snatching the last play-off place.

The Tynesiders, who have a posse of ex-Knights in their ranks, sit seventh but are in a three-way tussle for fifth spot along with Doncaster and Keighley - who faced very tough assignments this weekend away to champions Toronto (tonight) and second-placed Barrow (tomorrow) respectively.

Defeats for those two and victory for Thunder will give Jason Payne's men a semi-final berth.

Said Knights boss James Ford: "Newcastle will come really hungry and motivated. They need to win to get in the five and they've got some ex-York players who will be keen to have their best games of the season.

"If they're good enough to come here and win and get in the five then good luck to them. Not many teams have come here and beaten us and we don't want another one. The priority for us, though, is next week."

Payne is keeping faith with the 19 on duty in last week's dramatic 28-24 win over Doncaster which kept alive Thunder's hopes of making the top five.

They include ex-Knights Tyler Craig, the former Heworth ARLC junior, and Jack Aldous, York 2016 skipper, who both left Bootham Crescent last winter.

Benn Hardcastle, Rhys Clarke and Matt Barron are other ex-York first-teamers while Dan Parker and Harry Aldous, Jack's brother, were also previously in the ranks.

York-born former Knights favourite Peter Fox, the veteran ex-England winger, big prop Brett Waller and half-back Danny Nicklas, who both left York last year, are not involved this weekend.