EXPERIENCED hooker Andy Ellis is set to feature for York City Knights in their Betfred Championship clash against Rochdale Hornets on Sunday.

Head coach James Ford is looking forward to seeing the 34-year-old in action again after bringing back the willing Ellis to plug the gap left by pack injuries for the rest of the season.

Ellis hung his boots up for the third time in 2018, having been instrumental in the Knights' League One-winning campaign and making his 350th career appearance in the final-day victory over Whitehaven that clinched the title.

But with all three hookers out of action - Kriss Brining ineligible to play through concussion and Will Jubb and Harry Carter both struggling with knocks - Ford has called on the reliable veteran.

Ford said: “I’ve spoken to Andy a couple of times and he’s keen to see how the boys are going.

“Tuesday, we weren’t sure whether Kriss Brining would complete his concussion protocol, and he hasn't.

“I said, ‘What do you think about helping us out?’ and Andy being Andy, he put his hand up."

He added that Ellis has been keeping himself match-fit by playing at a lower level.

“He looks sharp in training and we’re looking forward to including him,” Ford said.

“I am delighted that Andy has agreed to help us through this hectic schedule. We trained on Tuesday without a recognised nine and, although none are long-term issues, it was certainly a concern.

“It’s a great fit as he knows our systems, terminology and philosophies. He’s a vastly experienced player who will be a great boost.

“He’s really well thought of on and off the field and I’m looking forward to coaching him again.”

Ellis began his career with Hull KR in 2003 aged 19, scoring 18 tries in 50 appearances, and lifting the old Northern Rail Cup in 2005 with victory over Castleford.

He then starred for Barrow during a brief golden era for the Cumbrians, taking them up to the Championship and was named that tier’s Man of Steel after leading them to the 2009 title and the National Rail Cup final before spending nearly three years in Super League with Harlequins and Wakefield.

Following a 2012 loan move turned permanent, Ellis helped Featherstone Rovers top the Championship that year, and again 12 months later.

He briefly retired at the end of 2015 to concentrate on teaching but returned and went on to play 24 times in 2016, including in all seven matches in the Middle Eights. He played 120 times in all for Rovers, notching 29 tries.

He hung up his boots again but came back to join the Knights in March 2017.

Ford makes three other changes to the squad that faced Toulouse. Jack Blagborough (oblique) is injured, Harry Aldous has been recalled by Newcastle Thunder and Joe Porter does not make the squad.

This will also be the last game of Junior Vaivai and Will Oakes’ month-long loan from Hull KR. The Knights are in talks with Rovers and Ford is “hopeful” of getting them back.

York: (from) Marsh, Bass, Salter, Vaivai, Whiteley, Harris, Robinson, Teanby, Jubb, Horne, Scott, Jordan-Roberts, Spears, Ellis, Dixon, Dupree, Stock, Hey, Oakes.