JOE BATCHELOR has hailed the "brilliant" welcome he's had from York City Knights fans following his stunning return to Bootham Crescent.

It was announced this week that the 24-year-old's initial one-month loan spell back at York from St Helens has been extended until the end of the season.

And while the 2017 Press Player of the Year still harbours ambitions to break into Saints' first team in the coming weeks and months - the Super League giants have retained a 24-hour recall option - he says he is "loving it" back at the club where he made his name.

And that's been helped by the supporters.

"It's been great," he said. "The crowds are growing in numbers and they're very vocal, especially down at Bootham Crescent.

"The response I've had personally from them has been brilliant."

It has been pretty buoyant at Bootham Crescent, with James Ford's team having already shocked a few people this year. Following their stunning League One title triumph last term - in which Batchelor played a central role, earning himself a three-year full-time deal with St Helens in the process - the Knights have bagged four wins on the trot following a battling opening-day defeat to title favourites Toronto Wolfpack.

Batchelor has played - and starred - in the last three against Barrow Raiders, Bradford Bulls and, on Sunday, Leigh Centurions.

"It's good. I've enjoyed it," he said of his return. "We've had three good wins, which is a help obviously, but it's been great to be able to slot back in.

"Not a lot has changed. There are a few new faces but Fordy is asking the same things from everyone and there are a lot of people from last year so in that sense it's been easy."

The second-row remarkably scored two tries inside 10 minutes of his second debut at York, setting the Knights on their way to that stunning 56-0 rout of the Raiders.

He also scored early on in the dramatic 9-8 victory over Leigh.

"It was a bit strange," he said of his debut back in amber and black. "I was quite nervous before that game, just questioning how it would go, but the boys made it easy for me. They worked really hard and we got the win.

"We've had two 'grindy' results since then which show how far we're going as a team.

"We were also a bit disappointed with some things we did - which shows how ambitious we are."

Batchelor is still training full-time with St Helens during his loan before joining up with York for their sessions on Thursday and Friday nights.

"I'm enjoying it," he said of his time with the Red 'V'. "It's a different challenge but I knew it would be a big challenge. It's good.

"My aim is to make my debut for St Helens but obviously while that's not happening I'm at York and I love it there. It's where I've played my best rugby.

"Whether the time comes that St Helens recall me and give me an opportunity is down to me. I need to make sure I keep working hard and playing well for York."

Asked about his aims at Bootham Crescent, he said: "Obviously everyone wants to be winning games. We want to win every game and I'll do everything I can to contribute in these wins.

"We just need to keep picking up points and go from there. I don't think there are set-in-stone targets but there are high standards here and it's a case of hitting those standards every week.

"Who knows what can happen."