HEAD coach James Ford says he and his York City Knights team want to be tested “every single minute of the season” – unlike in recent years.

Having taken the Knights to a memorable League One title last term, Ford is now coaching in the Betfred Championship for the first time. And, while he admits it means there can be no let-up in intensity week on week, unlike in the third tier, he is relishing the challenge - saying it is far preferable than going to some grounds “where there can be more players than supporters”.

Having faced odds-on title favourites Toronto Wolfpack in their 2019 opener last week, tomorrow his team go to a Dewsbury Rams side who have been a solid Championship outfit for much of the past decade since winning League One back in 2009, never finishing lower than ninth.

Then follow matches against Barrow Raiders, Bradford Bulls and Leigh Centurions.

Asked about the difficulty of tackling tough tasks each week, without any of it being punctured by an easy game against a minnow club, Ford said: “That’s what we wanted.

“We want to be tested week in week out by quality players, quality coaches and quality teams.

“We want to be playing in front of decent crowds, not going to venues where there are more players than supporters knowing that no matter how we perform we’re going to win.

“We want to be in a situation where we’re tested every single minute of the season, and that’s going to be the case in the Championship this year.”

The Knights lost 14-0 to Toronto last week after a bruising battle against a side littered with NRL and Super League pedigree, the Wolfpack only sealing victory with two late tries.

Ford’s team earned plaudits that day but he was quick to point out that the last time they were lauded for a mighty effort against Toronto - stunning the rugby league world in July 2017 by ending the Wolfpack's unbeaten record that year - they followed up with an "awful" defeat at Keighley the following weekend.

Asked how important it was to get league points on the board as soon as possible this season, he quipped: “I would much rather win than lose!

“It’s worth two points – the same as last week. Our focus is on this game and making sure our performance is as good as it can be. That’s all we can focus on – the things we can control. Our preparation, our energy and our performance. If we do that to the best of our ability, we will be there or thereabouts.”