HEAD coach James Ford reckons his York City Knights side can take plenty of positives from their defeat to Hull KR.

The Knights lost 28-6 to the newly promoted Super League side in Ben Cockayne’s testimonial match at New Craven Park – Cockayne captaining the League One outfit in his first outing since joining York from the Robins.

The damage was done in the first half as Rovers, starting with a strong top-flight line-up, built a 22-0 lead. They threw on reserves and academy players as the second half progressed, and that period ended even, the Knights having been on top territorially before finally scoring late on through Harry Carter.

It was the Knights’ second fixture of pre-season and Ford said afterwards: “I think we can take a lot from it.

“I was relatively pleased with large portions of the game.

“There were things we didn’t do so well but we can use it to highlight things we can learn from.

“If we could have tidied up those things in the first half, I’m not going to say we could have been leading but we could have been only 10-0, which, against a Super League team, is something I would have been pretty pleased about.

“We will learn from it and we’ll get better because of it.”

Asked about those lessons, he said: “Just our mentality.

“Hull KR are a good team and they handled our shifts reasonably well. We did not create chances we would normally create against teams in our division.

“But we don’t need to change things. We needed to keep at it, keep asking questions, keep Hull KR coming away from their own line.

“But we chased things too much and made a couple of errors and a couple of poor choices of kicks.

“That said, of the four tries we conceded in the first half, two were from kicks and one was from a few chancy offloads. Their try in the second half came from when we nearly scored. Brad Hey tried to make a try but they picked it off and broke away.

“We’ve got stuff to improve on but, with our mentality, we are looking forward to improving.

“We weren’t too far away from a pretty good Super League team with an excellent coach.”

Rovers gave debuts to Leeds Rhinos legend Danny McGuire, while Scotland international Danny Addy led their try-scoring with a brace and Samoan prop Mose Masoe, another former Super League champion, weighed in with another.

Ford added: “Danny McGuire made a massive difference. We’ve kept Hull KR in their own 30 but he’s popped up with a 40-20 so instead of us having the ball on half-way and having a set in their half, we’ve had to retreat 70 metres and defend our goal line.

“These are the kind of plays a player of that ability can pull out of the bag at important times.”

The Knights saw half-back Brad Delaney stretchered off after being knocked out in an accidental collision.

Ford said the worryingly long on-the-field treatment was protocol for head injuries and that medics later gave the player the all-clear, barring the mandatory head tests.

Chris Siddons also hobbled off in the second half with a leg injury, having also broken his nose in the first period, but he later said he expected to be okay for the Knights’ next friendly, away to Featherstone in two weeks’ time.