HEAD coach James Ford has revealed York City Knights are keeping tabs on "one or two" local amateur aces - with Heworth playmaker-in-chief Liam Jackson likely to be offered a trial this pre-season.

It has today been confirmed that the Knights will take on the York & District Amateur Rugby League representative team in a pre-season fixture at Bootham Crescent on Wednesday, December 27, kicking off at 3pm.

But it is unclear who Jackson in particular will turn out for that day, with Ford confirming the Yorkshire county player to be high up in their thoughts.

"I've been impressed with a number of people in the 'State of Yorigin' game and we're considering inviting one or two down for a trial during our pre-season," said Ford, who was a keen spectator at that recent East York v West York representative match at Clifton Park.

"We can also have a look at them in this pre-season fixture, too, featuring either for us or even against us."

Asked specifically about Jackson, who has been playing for the White Rose in the BARLA Tri-County Series, Ford said: "He looks like a player with a really athletic build, like a modern-day rugby league player with a similar physique to a Brad Hey or a Joe Batchelor, which is a step in the right direction.

"When I've seen him play he seems to be an intelligent footballer and he puts himself in good spaces, having a good awareness of what's around him.

"Obviously there will be stuff to improve on but if we get chance to spend time with him one-on-one we will go through that. The ball will be in his court, but on the face of it he has got something."

Ford added he had already spoken to Heworth's new coach, Scott Rhodes, the former Knights captain, about approaching the Villagers half-back - and he was hopeful anyone who is offered a trial could follow in the footsteps of ex-York Acorn player of the year Joe Porter and fellow former trialist Joe Batchelor in making the grade at semi-professional level.

Utility forward Porter played in 17 of the League One club’s 27 fixtures this year after winning a contract last winter having himself shone in the 2016 East v West match.

Second-row Batchelor also came on trial from League One minnows Coventry Bears 12 months ago and went on to be named both the Knights' and the Press Player of the Year.

Both players have also penned new deals for next season - with the Knights' class of 2018 now back in training, having had their first get-together and testing session on Sunday.

Ford said: "Joe Porter is a dream to coach. He was always going to make some mistakes but he always showed incredible enthusiasm and athletic ability, and he will improve again this year - we expect him to go up to another level at least.

"Joe Batchelor came on trial and impressed everyone with his attitude and appetite for hard work and we signed him.

"Like with Brad Hey, some wouldn't have thought he'd have been anywhere near the 17 but he really worked hard in pre-season on his skill, his fitness and his understanding, and come the back end of the season both of them were almost indispensable.

"It shows there is a pathway for people who are willing to learn and work hard on their game."

The York ARL rep team, to be coached by Acorn boss Leigh Paul-Rientoul, will be made up of players who impressed in this month's East v York match. The squad will also tour France next year.

Ford was hopeful, meanwhile, that the 3pm kick-off time in midweek - and not on a festive bank holiday as previously envisaged - would not prevent too many York rugby fans from attending the fixture.

He said: "There might be a barrier there for some people in terms of work commitments but I'm hopeful most people will have time off that week over the festive period to spend time with their families and enjoy some rugby league.

"It will be some time since they would have seen a live game and I'm hoping they're looking forward to it like we are."