YORK City Knights boss James Ford insists his line-up against Widnes Vikings tomorrow night does not amount to a weakened side - but rather a "different side".

Ford has again rung the changes for the Coral Challenge Cup, with no fewer than NINE players poised to go into the 17-man party for the fifth round tie away to Widnes Vikings (7.30pm) and nine coming out from the team that beat Swinton in the Championship last week.

However, he argues the changes are largely due to injuries in the camp, plus the fact St Helens won't allow on-loan second-row star Joe Batchelor to be cup-tied.

Asked if the squad selection was further proof the Knights were prioritising the Championship over the cup, Ford said: “It’s our priority to finish as high as possible in the league. But we’ve got injuries.

“I don’t see it as a weakened side. I see it as a different side to the one we’ve had out recently in the league fixtures. There’s nothing we can do about that (the injuries).

“It’s an opportunity for some of the younger players to come in and further their reputations. They did a good job of that away at Barrow (in the fourth round) and I expect them to do the same this weekend against a very good Widnes side."

As reported this week, first-choice playmakers Connor Robinson (hamstring) and Ben Cockayne (knee) are ruled out, as is Matty Marsh (ankle), who switched from full-back to half-back for the fourth round win at Barrow.

Props Graeme Horne and Jack Teanby (dead leg) are resting knocks, as is centre Liam Salter (hamstring), while Batchelor is unavailable.

Captain Tim Spears and fellow packman Sam Scott are in the provisional 19-man travelling party but are likely to also rest niggling injuries.

Harry Carter (hamstring), Ash Robson (knee operation), Matt Chilton (knee) are long-term absentees, while on-loan winger Conor McGrath (shoulder) also remains sidelined.

New recruit Jordan Baldwinson, the forward signed on loan from Wakefield Trinity, will make his Knights debut tomorrow as expected - and has been marked out as 'one to watch' by Widnes' official club website.

Also coming into the pack ranks are Jack Blagbrough, Brad Hey, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Dave Petersen and Mike Kelly.

On-loan Dewsbury half-back Lewis Heckford will be another debutant - with Kriss Brining, not Will Jubb, this time looking likely to switch from hooker to stand-off alongside him.

Petersen will probably interchange the hooking role with Jubb.

Fleetfooted youngster Kevin Brown, who impressed on his debut in the last round at Barrow, again comes into the team at full-back, with Perry Whiteley also returning to the back line.

The Knights play Widnes again in the league nine days later, in the second fixture of the Easter weekend double-header.

On which of the crocks will be back for Easter, starting with the trip to Featherstone on Good Friday evening, Ford said: “I’m not sure. We will have to wait and see how they respond to treatment.”

Meanwhile, Widnes boss Kieron Purtill has made just one change to the 19-man squad that surprisingly lost at Batley Bulldogs last week, leaving out veteran former Wigan and Samoa star Harrison Hansen and bringing Sam Wilde back in.

Owen Buckley, Olly Ashall-Bott, Tom Gilmore and Dan Norman remain injured.

Former Wigan star Anthony Gelling, the New Zealand international, is an obvious one to watch at centre, as is fellow Kiwi Hep Cahill in the pack.

The likes of half-back Danny Craven, utility player Chris Dean and loose-forward MacGraff Leuluai are others with vast Super League experience.

The latter - one of the famous rugby league-playing Leuluai clan - is the only player in the Vikings' 19-man squad who was in the team the last time they met York, scoring a try in a 22-18 Widnes win at Huntington Stadium in the Championship in 2011.

Widnes (possible): Jack Owens, Ryan Ince, Anthony Gelling, Keanan Brand, Lloyd Roby, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, Hep Cahill, Jordan Johnston, Jay Chapelhow, Sam Wilde, Chris Dean, MacGraff Leuluai. Subs: from Dom Speakman, Ted Chapelhow, Liam Walsh, Owen Farnworth, Sam Freeman, Brad Walker.

Knights (possible): Kevin Brown, Judah Mazive, Jason Bass, Perry Whiteley, Nick Rawsthorne, Kriss Brining, Lewis Heckford, Jordan Baldwinson, Will Jubb, Jack Blagbrough, Brad Hey, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Joe Porter. Subs: from Dave Petersen, Mike Kelly, Ronan Dixon, Marcus Stock, Tim Spears, Sam Scott.