HEAD coach James Ford has hailed how far York City Knights have come in the past couple of years - and has dropped a little hint of their play-off targets.

The Knights, for the second time this season, were pipped by Super League hopefuls Toulouse Olympique on Sunday in another game which could have gone either way. Victory would have seen Ford's men draw level with the French outfit in second place in the Championship.

Nevertheless, they remain right in the play-off picture, despite having been rank outsiders for a top-five spot at the start of the season following their shock League One title success last term - and despite a chance of promotion to the top flight having been hitherto unthinkable.

Indeed this is already the Knights' best-ever season since the club re-formed in 2002 and Sunday's high-quality contest further underlined the notable upturn for an outfit who came close to closure at the end of 2016 prior to the takeover by Jon Flatman.

"That just shows the distance we've travelled as a team and a club," said Ford when discussing how his side competed with the full-timers.

"We're happy with the progress we're making. We believe we're going in the right direction and we believe in what we're doing.

"We're not going to get to levels we're aspiring to get to in a very short time span. It's going to take time to continue developing some of these players.

"But we're building on good foundations. Off the field the blokes are having a dig, and we'll just keep doing our work through the week trying to get better."

With a nod to those play-off hopes - and maybe even a previously inconceivable promotion tilt in this or future seasons - Ford added of Sunday's match-up: "We know we're not far away.

"Ultimately we just need to be able to beat Toulouse in a one-off game, don't we."