"THERE'S no reason why he can't make an impact in our team."

So said head coach James Ford after York City Knights signed local playmaker Liam Jackson on a one-year deal.

The 22-year-old half-back has been on trial at the League One club from neighbouring amateurs Heworth since late December, coming off the bench in both the pre-season friendlies so far, against the York & District ARL XIII over Christmas and Super League outfit Hull Kingston Rovers 11 days ago.

Jackson - the 2017 York & District Player of the Year - had previously caught Ford's eye while impressing for the Villagers and the city's revitalised representative team.

Said the Knights boss: “In trial games and in training he’s showing he’s got potential. He’s shown some nice touches in attack and he’s been great to have around.

“He’s got a really positive attitude and has really embraced our culture.

“He’s certainly got some areas to improve on but we believe we can help him do that and, with that attitude he’s displayed, there’s no reason why he can’t make an impact in our team.”

Jackson follows former York Acorn forward Joe Porter in joining the Knights' semi-pro ranks from the city's amateur scene, Porter having likewise enjoyed a successful trial 12 months ago before going on to make 17 appearances in his debut season and agreeing an extended contract.

Asked whether Jackson could feature as often as back-rower Porter, Ford said: “If I’m honest, probably not.

“The half-back role is incredibly important to the team. Liam’s going to have to be patient learning his trade, developing his understanding of the game and working on his game.

“But he’s intimated he’s willing to do that and, if and when he gets his chance, the ball is in his court.”

Ford insists that, either way, this move will not equate to the Knights taking local lads out of the city's amateur clubs only to give them little game-time - pointing to the Rugby Football League agreement that allows players at League One clubs to dual-register with Yorkshire Men’s League teams.

This rule means Jackson could return to Heworth on dual-reg should he not get regular action with the semi-pro team.

Said Ford: “We’re keen not to take people out of the community game.

“If Liam doesn’t play regularly with us, we will offer him the option to go back and play for Heworth. If so, Heworth should be getting a smarter and better player then previously.”

But he added: “Liam could certainly be a great find for us - there is definitely more in him.

"He has a fantastic attitude and is very aware of where he needs to improve to become a regular player for the Knights.

“He is a credit to his community club, Heworth, and he is a great example to the junior players at all our community clubs in this city that if you work hard, the opportunities are there.

"It's important we build a very competitive squad but at the same time we're mindful not to detract from the community game which is in a healthy spot in York."

Jackson said: "It’s great to have signed for my hometown club.

"It’s going to be a big challenge for me stepping up from the amateur game but I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve.

"The squad is full of quality and I’m just trying to learn what I can from the senior boys within it."

Jackson is set to get his third outing for York - and first as a fully-fledged Knights player - when they face Featherstone Rovers at Post Office Road on Sunday (3pm), in their third of four pre-season fixtures.