HEAD coach James Ford says York City Knights' objectives have not changed this weekend - regardless of whether they face a banana skin or not.

The Knights take on the country's best amateur team, Hunslet Club Parkside, in their second outing of pre-season tomorrow, with the game taking place at Dewsbury Rams' ground (1pm) as part of a double-header.

But, while it is a warm-up ahead of the upcoming season, it is also the first round of the new pre-season Yorkshire Cup competition, with silverware - or a major scalp - up for grabs.

Asked if his League One champions are on a hiding to nothing, where defeat could damage confidence ahead of their return to the Championship, Ford said: "I'm not sure about that.

"I respect Hunslet Parkside as a club and a team and we know we will need to perform well to win. Our objectives, though, are the same.

"We will want to be better in one or two areas I thought we were off in against Bradford on Boxing Day.

"How we transitioned from attack to defence I thought was pretty sloppy at times, and we will look to be more cohesive with the ball in the opponents' half. Against Bradford it was one of the least patient displays I have seen from a York side for a while."

The Knights' season kicks off at home to title favourites Toronto Wolfpack on February 3.

Ford added: "This is another tough physical workout which will add to our fitness for what will be a tough season, and it will further clarify what the 17 will be for round one.

"Some players enhanced their reputations against Bradford and pushed themselves towards a starting position, and one or two probably did not.

"Everyone in the squad will get more opportunity to find form, build relationships and make sure they're in the side for the Toronto game."

Asked if York were targeting success in this pre-season tournament, Ford said: "It's not a priority but you want to win every competition that you're in and every game that you play.

"It would be a positive for the club, the players and the supporters to take some more success into the new season, even though the league competition will be our priority."

Hunslet Parkside, unbeaten National Conference League champions last year, were late replacements for troubled Keighley Cougars in the eight-team Yorkshire Cup. Other participating clubs are Bradford, Featherstone, Halifax, Dewsbury and Batley, all of the Championship, and Hunslet, of League One.

Parkside include in their ranks packman Liam Thompson, formerly of both York and Coventry, while livewire full-back Craig McShane and BARLA Great Britain loose-forward Jamie Field are among others to look out for.

Said Ford: "Having watched them a number of times last year, they're a very good side who are well-coached.

"I'm expecting a really stern challenge - much sterner than I think we would have got from Keighley Cougars with the way things have been going there.

"It's an opportunity for the best amateur side in the country to try to further their growing reputations individually and as a team.

"People in the game are very much aware of them. People speak highly of them.

"I'm sure they will turn up and have a real go at us."

Veteran campaigners Ben Cockayne and Graeme Horne, who sat out the Boxing Day friendly at Bradford, return to York's squad tomorrow.

There is likely to be a first start at loose-forward for trialist Dave Petersen and at centre for new boy Jason Bass, with Liam Salter switching to the second row.

Captain Tim Spears remains sidelined, though, after his calf complaint although he was back in training this week.

Mike Kelly, a late withdrawal from the Bradford game after tweaking a groin, will likewise sit this one out too, while Joe Porter is ruled out with the knee injury suffered against the Bulls.

As reported, Sam Scott remains in the treatment room.

Late decisions will be made on Harry Carter (hand) and trialist Reece Rushworth (head).

Teams are allowed 20-man squads for these Yorkshire Cup games.

Knights (probable): Marsh, Robson, Whiteley, Bass, Mazive, Cockayne, Robinson, Dixon, Jubb, Teanby, Jordan-Roberts, Salter, Petersen. Subs: from Chilton, Hey, Stock, Blagbrough, Horne, Brown, Carter, Rushworth.