YORK City Knights boss James Ford is expecting a totally different challenge from Dewsbury Rams on Sunday compared to that in pre-season.

Ford's team beat the Rams 34-0 at Bootham Crescent in their last warm-up match ahead of the new campaign, scoring three tries in the first half and four in the second, all without reply.

However, the Heavy Woollen outfit - now coached by former England international and Gloucestershire All Golds boss Lee Greenwood - left out several first-teamers that day and Ford knows they will be a much tougher nut to crack this time, especially on their own Tetley's Stadium turf.

Said York's head coach: “There will be a lot of changes from that game.

“Plus one or two of that Dewsbury side will be coming for us this week, and why wouldn’t they?

“Lee Greenwood is a good coach and Dewsbury historically are good at home with that crowd behind them. It’s a small field and it will be a tough battle.

“We have to be at our very best.”

Veteran schemer Paul Sykes, fellow half-back Simon Brown, who had one - largely below-par - season at York in 2013, and powerful backs Adam Ryder, Dale Morton and Alex Brown, along with packmen Michael Knowles, Jordan Andrade and Chris Annakin, were all among those who sat out that pre-season encounter.

They all play this Sunday, as do young Super League loanees in Owen Harrison from Hull KR and Callum Field from Wigan, although first-choice hooker Robbie Ward is still on the sidelines.

Ford, conversely, makes only a few changes to the team that started against Dewsbury last month, and only one change to the 17 that took on Toronto Wolfpack last week.

He had considered making more, wary of the after-effects of a bruising encounter, especially given the comedown his team suffered the last time they had battled bravely against the Wolfpack back in 2017 - when they followed up a stunning victory with an "awful" defeat at Keighley.

But the only change sees Dave Petersen, who filled crocked skipper Tim Spears' big boots at loose-forward last Sunday, drop out of the provisional 17, replaced by former Hemel Stags packman Marcus Stock.

Old head Graeme Horne is set to start at 13, with Ronan Dixon starting up top and Stock set to make his competitive bow for the club off the subs' bench.

Ford said: “I thought Dave’s efforts were considerable. He worked really hard for the team and I value what he brings to the group. He’s got a positive impact to play for us.

“Marcus missed out last week but it was a very close call and he’s trained to a very good level.”

Perry Whiteley will continue on the wing, with his two-match ban not starting until next week.

Prop Jack Teanby, a winter recruit from Dewsbury, returns to his old stomping ground having opened his Knights account with a man-of-the-match performance against Toronto.

Former star player Joe Batchelor has returned to York on loan from St Helens but he will not be available to play until next week. Sam Scott and Matt Chilton, along with Spears, remain in the treatment room.

Dewsbury (probable): Morton, Brown, Ryder, Field, Worrincy, Sykes, Brown, Sheriffe, Day, T Richardson, Walshaw, Knowles, Trout. Subs: Andrade, Thomas, Annakin, Garratt.

Knights (probable): Marsh, Robson, Bass, Hey, Whiteley, Cockayne, Robinson, Dixon, Jubb, Teanby, Jordan-Roberts, Salter, Horne. Subs (all used): Brining, Blagbrough, Porter, Stock. Stand-by: Petersen, Mazive.