YORK City Knights boss James Ford reckons new signing Brad Delaney could follow in the footsteps of Joe Batchelor and become a hit at Bootham Crescent.

Scrum-half Delaney has joined the club from minnows Coventry Bears, 12 months after Batchelor made the same move to similarly little fanfare.

Back-row Batchelor, though, went on to be named Player of the Year and The Press Player of the Year after his first season at the club, and Ford is optimistic Delaney can likewise prove himself a surprise package.

Asked if he expected the 22-year-old to nail down a first-team berth, facing competition at half-back from former Halifax playmaker Connor Robinson and future arrivals, Ford said: "We're a club that promotes people who work hard and buy into our culture - as evidenced by Joe Batchelor.

"He came on trial from Coventry Bears and trained to an outstanding level and we signed him. "He continued to work hard and we gave him a squad number. That carried on and he finished as the Player of the Year.

"Those are the principles we believe in. If Brad follows suit, if he buys into how we do things, I'm excited to see how he can improve."

Delaney rose through the ranks at Dewsbury, playing three times for their first team, before having loan spells at Doncaster and Hemel in 2016 and then joining Coventry 12 months ago.

He scored nine tries in 21 appearances for the Bears this year.

Said Ford: "Brad first got on the radar when he played for Dewsbury reserves against our reserves a few years back.

"He had a really eye-catching performance - he did a lot of flashy things and I thought if someone could get hold of him and coach him, he could be a really good player.

"He has fantastic anticipation - he reminds me of (now retired Knights half-back) Jonny Presley. He's a good support player and puts himself in positions to score, and he's got great pace.

"He's also a good kicker of the ball, both out of hand and at goal, and he's brave - he's not shy of doing his defensive work.

"How we play will be a big step up on what he was asked to do this year, but I'm willing to invest time in him and, if he reciprocates that, I'm confident he can be a really good player.

"He's still young and has time on his side. There's a bit of the unknown here, but if he embraces how we do things, he could improve out of sight."

Delaney was among four recruits to be announced by the Knights late last week, alongside Doncaster and Hunslet back-rowers Mike Kelly and Jake Normington, and centre Adam Swift, who has agreed new terms.

The quartet take the number of players on the books for 2018 up to 21.

That squad comprises: full-backs Ash Robson and Lewis Price (Lock Lane ARLC); wingers Ben Cockayne (Hull KR) and Judah Mazive (Wakefield); centres Brad Hey and Adam Swift; half-backs Connor Robinson and Brad Delaney (Coventry); hookers Harry Carter and Andy Ellis; props Adam Robinson, Ronan Dixon, Chris Siddons and Harvey Kear (Castleford); back-rowers Joe Batchelor, Sam Scott (Sheffield), Jake Normington (Hunslet), Mike Kelly (Doncaster), Rory Dixon (Castleford); and loose-forwards Tim Spiers and Joe Porter.