HOMEGROWN favourite Kriss Brining could yet be on his way "back home" to York City Knights - if finances and fitness allow.

It was reported two months ago that the 25-year-old hooker was more likely to stay in the full-time arena following his release by Salford Red Devils.

However, he remains a free agent less than a month before the new season starts and is back living in North Yorkshire too. Moreover, the Knights have stayed very much in touch with their former talisman - and The Press understands genuine talks are now ongoing about a potential move to Bootham Crescent.

The news will no doubt excite fans. However, while the 2016 Press Player of the Year would surely enjoy a return to the club with whom he grew up, rival Championship teams currently have deeper pockets and will be able to offer more money.

Another sticking point is the injury that effectively cut short Brining's time at Salford, with the Scarborough-born star having undergone surgery on a 'neck bulge' in May. He completed his rehab and was back in full training with the Red Devils' first team up until the end of his contract on December 1 but clubs may be wary of splashing out on a player whose long-term match fitness is not yet proven.

To that end, the Knights will almost certainly be checking out his medical records.

Head coach James Ford would not say if a deal was likely and has often stressed the need to "live within our means", but he did say it would "be great for the supporters if we were in a position to bring one of our own back to the club".

That implies that, while the club have far from ruled out the move, additional coffers, be they from sponsorship or sales, would be needed in the budget to compete with other teams for Brining's signature.

"I'm pleased with what we've got," Ford said of his squad as it stands. But he continued: "I would like to add a bit more to it and those discussions are ongoing. We won't rush anything.

"Conversations are frequently taking place between Jon Flatman (chairman) and I and I’d like to assure everyone we’re doing our best to continue taking this club forward."

When asked specifically about Brining, he said: "It would be nice. Purely from a performance side of things I would like to strengthen, but other aspects of the club need to allow us to do that.

"He is one of the better players we have produced in recent years and it would be great to be able to bring him back home rather than see him go elsewhere.

"But we don't want to overstretch ourselves at this stage of the season. We will see how things go in other departments and, if they're as promising as we hope, we will hopefully do some business.

"Kriss is someone who conducted himself immaculately on and off the field at York and who deserved an opportunity in Super League.

"He's had tough luck with injury but he's got the ability to get back up there. Whether he gets an opportunity is another situation.

"I would love to work with Kriss again but there are a number of factors to be evaluated before that could materialise."

Brining came through the ranks at York - latterly under the tutelage of Ford - and became the club's youngest-ever player when making his debut in 2011 aged 17 years 148 days.

He scored 45 tries in 45 appearances in his last two seasons with the Knights, taking his total up to 54 from 86 overall, before joining Salford two years ago.

He also had an impressive first campaign in Super League in 2017, scoring five tries in 24 appearances, before injury sidelined him for all of 2018.

Salford boss Ian Watson said it was an "extremely tough decision" to release the player late last year, adding: "Kriss was one of my first signings and I’d have loved to have continued our journey together. I’m still of the opinion that he has the potential to go far in the game."

Meanwhile, James Donaldson, who played once on dual-registration for the Knights last season, helping them to a key win at promotion rivals Oldham in March, has signed for Leeds Rhinos following his release by Hull KR.