JAMES FORD has dismissed John Kear’s claims that his York City Knights side “bent the laws” on interchanges in their dramatic Championship win.

York’s Liam Salter went down hurt late in the game against Bradford on Sunday, with the Knights having used all their eight permitted interchanges at that point.

After inspection by the physio and doctor, Salter’s injury was deemed to be a head knock, allowing Kriss Brining to come on as a replacement for the reminder of the match.

Kear was far from pleased with the call, telling The Press’ sister paper the Bradford Telegraph and Argus: “Their guy (Salter) goes down behind the posts and York have used all their interchanges. He walks to the sideline and then all of a sudden the doctor runs down and starts signalling for a head knock.

“If we’re going to abuse processes like that then we might as well not have them. It’s poor.”

In response, Ford insisted that the injury to Salter was genuine and denied that it was a tactical move.

“To put the record straight, Liam was genuinely concussed,” said Ford. “I spoke to the doctor and to put his words in layman’s terms, Liam was ‘heavily concussed’.

“Bradford scored (through Ross Oakes) and Liam suffered a knock a couple of plays before that so our physio came on to assess Liam as the goal kick was taking place.

“Our doctor came over and saw that Liam was covered in blood and had a broken nose and reported that Liam was ‘heavily concussed’.

“By no means was this a tactical move. For us, it was far from ideal that Liam went off at the time that he did at such a crucial point in the game.

“I had to bring on Kriss Brining to replace Liam. Why would I replace a centre with a hooker? That’s a position that Kriss has never played before so it certainly didn’t benefit us.”

Ford was quick to point out that he didn’t take Kear’s comments to heart, saying that all coaches make comments in “the heat of the moment”.

“I understand John’s comments in the sense that, as coaches, we’ve all said things that we regret when your emotions are running high,” added Ford.

“You say things that you shouldn’t have done in the heat of the moment.

“As far as I am concerned, there are no grudges held against either John or Bradford as a club with what was said.

“For me, the point to stress is that I hope this doesn’t detract from what was a great game of rugby league. It really was top drawer in terms of the quality.

“It was a great advert for the game of rugby league in the Championship.”

When asked if he will speak to Kear this week, Ford replied: “Maybe I’ll leave it a couple of days before either talking to him or dropping him a message.

“John’s a top bloke and I’m sure I’ll see him in person at some point and by then we’ll laugh and joke about it.

“As coaches, we all make mistakes. I’ve certainly made them before.”

Ford went on to detail Salter’s current situation, saying that he faces a tough test to be fit for the trip to Barrow on Sunday, August 4 in their next match.

“If we had a match this weekend, Liam would have been unavailable,” the head coach explained.

“Luckily for us, we’ve not got a game this weekend, so he’s got a longer recovery time ahead of Barrow.

“It’ll be a challenge for him to be back in time for Barrow the weekend after next. We’ll be following all the right protocols though.

“We’ll continue to follow the instructions from the doctors and physios, and we’ll follow the protocols that they and RFL set out.

“Hopefully he’ll be back soon, but that is a tough ask given the state of him after the game.

“Rules surrounding head knocks are there for a reason. This situation has arisen and this rule has helped protect the player.

“Liam is as tough as old boots and this rule is in place to protect players like him. Had it not been in place, Liam would have carried on playing because he’s that committed.”