YORK City Knights boss James Ford reckons the defeat at Featherstone Rovers suggests his promoted side might have been overachieving so far this term – but says they will not stop working to get better.

The Knights lost their Good Friday match at Post Office Road 42-12 to slip from third to fourth in the Championship table - with former Rovers player Ford, who still lives near Fev, admitting it "hurt a lot".

They face another tough task on Bank Holiday Monday when a buoyant Widnes Vikings visit Bootham Crescent (3pm), as their super start to the season comes under scrutiny in a gruelling Easter period.

They have not been helped by stand-off Ben Cockayne’s absence – it has now been confirmed he is out for eight weeks, to add to the Knights’ injury issues – nor the fact Joe Batchelor appears to have been recalled from his loan by parent club St Helens.

The second-row is in line for his Super League debut against Hull on Monday and his future thereafter is unclear.

Asked if Friday’s result was a reality check, Ford said: “Potentially it is.

“We’re probably overachieving at the minute in terms of our investment to our on-field performances – and I think that showed (against Featherstone).”

Ford had warned that the club needed to “manage expectations” ahead of the Easter period, despite having started the league campaign with six wins from eight games following promotion from League One.

Said Ford of the Post Office Road clash: “I want to point out how good Featherstone were. Their error rate was extremely low, with two possibly three in the full game.

“They ran really hard and tackled hard and dominated us. They had good line speed as well and we struggled for field position.

“They looked like a really good side, and we did not. That hurts a little bit – no, a lot.

“We need to address some areas sharpish. We can’t come away to sides of this calibre and be as sloppy as we were in one or two areas.”

Asked if it was merely an off-night, Ford said: “Featherstone were really good and we weren’t. I don’t believe in this ‘off-night’ stuff. We need to find out why it was not our day. We need to work hard in areas where we fell short.

“We want to win every game and until we’re capable of doing that we won’t be satisfied. We’re a very long way off that.

“There was some poor skill at times from us and that gifted Featherstone extra points and field position.

“One or two penalties I thought were harsh but one or two were a bit dumb from us. The principal cause was they ran harder than us and left us on the wrong side of the ruck.

“We will have a good luck at what we’re doing and try to be better on Monday.”

Second-row Josh Jordan-Roberts has joined the injury list with ankle ligament damage.

However, Ford expected centre Nick Rawsthorne and possibly packman Joe Porter to be fit again by Monday, having been crocked in last week's Challenge Cup loss at Widnes.

Dave Petersen and Jack Blagbrough will also be contention to return to the forwards.

The Knights were back in training at 8.30am on Saturday to speed up recovery and “have a look at a few things and get the players ready for Widnes”.

Said Ford: “There are no excuses about us or about Easter. It’s a tough period but everyone is in the same boat.

Cockayne, meanwhile, was in the stands at Post Office Road.

Ford said: “Ben has got knee ligament damage. He doesn’t need surgery which is a positive but it will be around eight weeks.

“It’s a big blow. I think we’ve seen (against Featherstone) how important he is.

“Following on from Ash Robson’s injury (out for the season) and Harry Carter’s, and Nick Rawsthorne not being available, it’s a blow. It’s a challenge but there’s nothing we can do about it.”