YORK City Knights boss James Ford has intimated he will field another much-changed team for next weekend’s Coral Challenge Cup trip to Widnes Vikings - with a debut for new loan signing Lewis Heckford almost certain.

The clubs agreed to play the fifth round tie on Saturday evening (7.30pm) rather than Sunday to give players an extra day’s recovery time ahead of the Easter weekend double-header in the Championship - which includes a return fixture between the teams at Bootham Crescent on Easter Monday.

But Ford, who said before the fourth round win at Barrow that his priority was the league, is nevertheless still poised to give fringe players another opportunity to show their worth - like they did with success in Cumbria - and also give some key first-teamers further chance to overcome knocks and recharge batteries.

"It (the Challenge Cup) is a different focus for us," he explained. "Our main objective is first of all to stay in the Championship and make sure we're a Championship side next season.

"Based on that, anybody with any knocks or bumps or bruises will be rotated out of the side.

"It gives other people an opportunity. If they turn up and play to a tremendous level next week, they will stay in the side."

Playmakers Ben Cockayne and Connor Robinson, who both sat out the Barrow tie, are already unlikely to feature after suffering injuries in Sunday’s league win over Swinton, with Heckford set to make his debut in the halves.

He joined from Dewsbury last week adding numbers for this mad period, with the Rams allowing him to play in the cup.

Fellow loanees Nick Rawsthorne and Conor McGrath - if fit - will also be available, although Joe Batchelor will again sit the tie out, with parent club St Helens not wanting him to be cup-tied.

Ford said of his first-choice half-backs: "We're not sure of the full extend of Benny's injury. He'll be assessed this week and if he needs a scan we'll send him for a scan to get a better picture.

"Connor has a hamstring issue. It's pretty unlikely either will feature against Widnes."

Judah Mazive and Marcus Stock were two players who kept their places in the team against Swinton after being given an opportunity and impressing against Barrow.

Ford added of his Swinton selection: “There were a few places up for grabs last week. Stocky stood up (against Barrow) and earned his place. I though Judah did pretty well and earned his place.

“We’ve got some good players on the periphery of the side who will get a run next week and that gives them an opportunity to force their way in like Stocky and Judah did.”

Widnes, relegated from Super League last year, sit bottom of the Championship due to their 12-point deduction for going into administration.

But, like the Knights, they have won six of their first eight league games - losing for only the second time this term when surprisingly falling 20-18 at Batley Bulldogs on Sunday.

Ford added: "Widnes are a good side. Batley must have performed incredibly well to take the points."

Meanwhile, Mike Kelly is also set for a Knights recall on Saturday after turning out on dual-reg for Coventry Bears on Sunday in their 44-18 League One defeat at Doncaster.

The second-row had made his season's bow for York in their fourth round win at Barrow seven days earlier.