YORK City Knights boss James Ford has urged the board to back his team's play-off ambitions with "more support" on and off the field.

Ford's battered troops held on to beat Batley Bulldogs 28-24 in a Bootham Crescent nail-biter and rise back up to joint-third on points in the Championship.

Eight wins from 12 games represents a remarkable run following promotion from League One, especially for a team with one of the lowest budgets in the competition. But Ford has warned he might not be able to field the full complement of 17 players for next week's rearranged game at Rochdale such is the growing injury list.

Furthermore, he says he can't "ask any more of his players" and wants an enhanced "environment" in order for them to push on.

"We want to win every single game that we take part in," said Ford.

"If we win at Rochdale next week we'll be third possibly, which, coming up to the half-way point, is a remarkable achievement.

"We need to be having a look around and seeing what we can do to make sure we can maintain this effort.

"The effort the boys are putting in is absolutely outstanding. I can't ask for any more from what they're delivering through the week in training and on game day. But we need to support them."

He added: "We're one or two players short and I think we could try to improve our environment a bit to make sure the players feel we can get everything out of everyone.

"We need to invest in the environment if our ambition is to challenge for the play-offs."

Batley finished this game the stronger but Ford said: "I can't spend all week talking Batley up in the preview and be disappointed to win. I'm ecstatic that we've won.

"We're aspiring to be at Batley's level. They've been in the top four, fifth, sixth, and we're looking to consistently grow and get to the standards that they've delivered over the years.

"We're going in the right direction, but we're miles off, at the minute, from being consistently at that level.

"It's not my team's efforts, not my team's performances, but just in general.

"We've got improvements to make to make sure we can consistently deliver.

"I'm not criticising my players. We are where we are in the league for a reason. But we need to support them a bit more."

When asked about the performance of Press man of the match Jason Bass, the former player at minnows Coventry, Ford said: "He's coming along.

"He's been off in one or two areas in the last couple of weeks and probably needs a rest - but we haven't got anybody else.

"We're going to struggle to field 17 players next week. We picked up another couple of injuries today.

"The club needs to make it clear what our aspirations are.

"Are we trying to get in the play-offs? If we do, we need to sign some players, otherwise we'll end up fielding 16 next week."

He added: "I thought we were really resilient. To lose (Jack) Teanby after 10 minutes really effected our interchange plans, and then to lose Horney (Graeme Horne) 10 minutes into the second half had a massive impact as well.

"But the boys dug in and showed mental strength again and togetherness to hang in in a game that Batley were very capable of pinching."

Asked about fatigue after the hectic Easter period, Ford said: "The individual who came up with a couple of misses at the end (Marcus Stock) - it's a huge step for him. This time last year he's playing for the second-bottom club in League One (Hemel Stags). Now he's playing week in week out for a top-four or top-five team in the Championship.

"He can do it. I know he can - I've seen him do it. He's had some cracking games for us.

"But for players coming up like that, it takes time for them to make that transition consistently.

"They need to be in for a couple of games then out for a bit and freshen up and come back in with a little bit of learning.

"But we're not in a position to do that. We sign players from those teams and they play week in week out for us.

"You can only do the best job you can possibly do and those boys are doing a tremendous job. They are defying the odds, turning up beating Widnes, beating Batley.

"I don't think people understand the context of just how well they're doing for the support that they get."

On the game overall, Ford said: "I thought the tempo of the game was wrestled out of it by Batley. They were really effective in the ruck. They got bodies in, they were tidy, they took all the tempo out of the game.

"I thought the game was ridiculously slow. Some of the onus is on us, some is on Batley being good in the wrestle, some is on Greg (Dolan, referee).

"I thought our execution was off and our skills a bit sloppy. We looked like a side that has come through a really tough Easter period and then travelled to France and got nothing for a massive effort (at Toulouse).

"We've certainly been better than that."