THE professional nous in the coaching ranks will be a huge help for the York & District ARL rep team when they take on York City Knights on Wednesday night.

That's the view of District boss Leigh Paul-Rientoul after he drafted in five former Huntington Stadium favourites into his backroom team for the game at Bootham Crescent.

Wednesday's encounter (7pm), as well as giving the Knights' new class of 2018 their first proper hit-out of pre-season, marks another big step forward for the rejuvenated District set-up.

And Paul-Rientoul reckons having names like Mark Cain, Darren Callaghan and Chris Judge, as well as New Earswick ARLC player-coach Jack Stearman and former boss Simon Baynes, on the sidelines only adds to the occasion.

"We like to bring people in, especially people who are well-known in York rugby league, like Cainy, Daz Callaghan and Chris Judge, who have all played semi-pro for York or even higher," said Paul-Rientoul, himself a one-time Knights reserve who also now coaches York Acorn ARLC and Yorkshire amateurs.

"They all know what to expect from a pro outfit and they can share their knowledge with the lads and get them better prepared."

Paul-Rientoul and co have put together a squad of 21 players, with all four of York's community clubs, plus outlying Brotherton Bulldogs, represented.

"We've been working on basic stuff mainly," he said of their get-togethers.

"Our game will be simple. We know the Knights will come out winners if they put a strong side out but we don't want to be on the end of a heavy scoreline or have a repeat of when Acorn played them in the Challenge Cup (66-0 in February 2016)."

York & District are also to tour France next year, and Paul-Rientoul said: "For our guys it's a matter of them staking a claim to get on the tour.

"Players not included this week for whatever reason have still got a chance to get on that tour. We don't want players at our community clubs to feel otherwise.

"But I have said to this squad there's a good chance they could go. They've got their foot in the door. They have shirts to lose.

"But nobody is guaranteed 100 per cent a place on the tour. It's the same case for everyone, whether in this week's team or not - they'll need to play, train and perform well for their community clubs to get in the touring team.

"This is what this rep stuff is about - to help make sure they're performing well for their clubs. They've all got a chance and it's up to them if they want a shirt."

Asked if his team could possibly beat the Knights, Paul-Rientoul said: "James Ford (Knights boss) will be trying his players out. They've got a few lads on trial - I don't think they'll be full strength on the night - so I see no reason why we can't put some points on the board.

"How long we hold them out is another matter.

"Our lads have something to play for, and their lads will want to impress James too. It will be a good battle I think."

Asked if he expected a decent crowd, he said: "Most people will be off work so hopefully we can get a good crowd down.

"With all four of York's community clubs involved I'd hope we can get good support, and they'll be a lot of Knights fans as well.

"This is the first time we've done this as York & District. Previously it's been a select team, not the official York & District, so it's quite a big thing for us really.

"It's difficult at times to get things up and running, to get support and sponsorship - and it's all self-funded. But people have been helping us out. We've got a new kit and some after-match gear as well, which is great. It's good people are showing their support.

"It's a good day out for our lads as well - playing at Bootham Crescent against a pro club is a big thing really for lads at amateur level."