HEAD coach James Ford was quick to praise York City Knights' two loanees after they both played key parts in the team's latest victory - although their futures remain unclear.

The injury-hit Knights withstood a second-half comeback to beat Batley Bulldogs 28-24 in a Bootham Crescent nail-biter on Sunday to rise to joint-third on points in the Betfred Championship.

And while Ford has urged the club to sign more players to bolster their surprise play-off push, he was happy with the contributions of the two most recent recruits, Jordan Baldwinson and Cain Southernwood. He also reiterated his desire for the former to remain in the Minster city now that his one-month loan from Wakefield Trinity is up.

The 24-year-old Baldwinson played a long first stint in the engine room and helped cover the loss to injury during the game of fellow front-rowers Jack Teanby and Graeme Horne, while Southernwood created a try on the half-time hooter for Ronan Dixon which proved vital in the final reckoning.

Said Ford: "I thought he (Baldwinson) was tremendous. I love having him here. Hopefully we can keep him here.

"He loves being here and you see the crowd are warming to him. When he came off he got his own little song, which was brilliant to see."

On former Batley half-back Southernwood, who has now played two games on loan from Hunslet, he said: "I thought Cain took another step forward.

"It's a big step up in my opinion, coming to this club from Hunslet, but he's done a good job.

"There's more improvement in him but he's got a good attitude and a good approach and I'm looking forward to seeing that come to fruition.

"That (the try right on half-time) was key. His movements off the ball are really important for us. It helps open up their defence and in theory it should speed the game up. I think over a number of performances it will."

Ford, meanwhile, also hailed the backing from the supporters on Sunday, not only when his side were on top but also when they were hanging on to repel the Bulldogs' late surge.

There was also another healthy turnout, with the attendance announced at 1,978.

Said Ford: "In the last 10 minutes where Batley had the momentum and we were worried they might pinch it, the fans played a massive part in us winning that game.

"They were getting behind the players and helping them find energy and rewarding them for finding energy.

"I've said on a number of occasions they're part of the performance at York and in this game they've certainly proved it."