YORK Knights head coach Andrew Henderson hopes to have almost a full contingent of players available when his side begin their Betfred Championship campaign in March.

2023 saw the Knights blighted by injury, with double figures left on the treatment table at points throughout the season.

They fielded as many as nine half-back combinations, lost starting full-back Matty Marsh to injury in May, and star forward Bailey Antrobus to an unfortunate ACL injury sustained on the training ground at the end of July.

And after achieving the unlikeliest of sixth-placed finishes on the final day of the season, they were unable to field a full complement of interchanges in their Play-off Eliminator at Bradford Bulls the following week.

But whilst York’s AB Sundecks 1895 Cup opener at Newcastle Thunder on January 28 will likely come too quickly for hooker Josh Daley and half-back Ata Hingano, Henderson is hopeful that he will only be without Antrobus and Levi Edwards for their Championship opener at Doncaster in March.

“Levi Edwards and Bailey Antrobus are on the long-term casualty list and both are progressing really well with their ACL injuries after operations,” he said of the club’s current injury situation.

“They’re both looking to be back around that mid-season mark. 

“Ronan Michael went under the knife in the close-season with a shoulder injury, so he’ll likely be back for the start of the Betfred Championship season. 

“Ata Hingano has had ankle surgery and both Myles Harrison and Josh Daley have had PCL injuries. Myles is back training now and Josh and Ata should be back in training in January. 

“The AB Sundecks 1895 Cup might be a bit too soon for them but they should be back for the start of the league season. 

“We should only be missing Levi and Bailey for round one of the league… all being well!”

York Press: Levi Edwards has not featured for the Knights since March, but looks set to return mid-way through the 2024 campaign.Levi Edwards has not featured for the Knights since March, but looks set to return mid-way through the 2024 campaign. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Whilst a range of Championship clubs have announced pre-season friendlies over the festive period and through the winter, Henderson believes that a combination of the 1895 Cup and busy fixture schedule means that is not necessary at the Knights.

“Put simply, I think we play enough games as it is in the regular season and cup competitions,” he explained. “I don’t think we need to play any more matches through friendlies. 

“We’re going to have some opposed sessions against other clubs, but I don’t think we need any friendly matches ahead of the season.”


Nonetheless, the Knights boss feels that pre-season has been running smoothly as he prepares for his second season at the helm.

“I’ve been really pleased with how we’ve started our pre-season campaign," Henderson admitted.

“It’s been nice to have pretty much full capacity at training. We’ve been able to get the quality of work into them that we wanted to so far, which has been really pleasing. 

“The addition of new staff has freshened things up, alongside a few new faces, so there’s great energy around the place and the lads are getting on with the job at hand.”

“It’s certainly been a lot smoother. The players have had 12 months working under myself now and they know what I’m about, my staff are about and what our programme is about. 

“The new players that have come in have understood what we do fairly quickly and I think they’ve certainly added to the squad.

“Having more numbers on the training field allows us to develop the team in the direction we want a bit sooner than we could last year.”