ANDREW HENDERSON insisted that his York Knights side were under ‘no false illusions’ on the challenge of recently-relegated Wakefield Trinity, who visit to the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday, January 4 (3pm).

York will look to maintain their perfect start within the newly-formatted AB Sundecks 1895 cup, after last Saturday’s mammoth 114-10 victory over Newcastle Thunder, with the Knights welcoming former Betfred Super League outfit Wakefield on Sunday.

Henderson is wary of the threat Wakefield possess, comparing Trinity to a Super League side, and is expecting his Knights side to perform to the standards he has set out for them.

“We’re under no false illusions that we’re going to be challenged,” Henderson declared.

“It’s one that we’re relishing and that we’re excited about, the fans will be excited for it and Wakefield will bring good travelling support as well which will create a good atmosphere with our home fans.

“It presents a total different challenge, we are ultimately coming up against a Super League side.

“They have got a very good roster at their disposal and they’re still operating as full-time with a Super League programme.

“There will be some players getting an opportunity this week that we can look at and see where they are at, they can test themselves against this level and standard of team.

“I’m confident that they will give a good account of themselves.”

Henderson is also excited at the prospect of facing an experienced coach in Daryl Powell on Sunday, but prefers for the focus to be placed onto the performances of his players and their achievements, admitting that it wasn’t a case of a battle of tactics.

“It’s not about me, I never look at it like that, it’s more about the players.

“Me as a coach personally, I just love to see my players become better players and better people, I love to see them achieve things that they maybe thought they couldn’t.

“That’s really rewarding for me, and I just want those players to have those opportunities, which they have to learn and they know that, to perform on the big stage against the best teams and the best players.

“There is nothing more rewarding than when you see teams that you coach and players that you coach that achieve things and get to experience those moments.

“I’ve been fortunate to be part of some of those experiences in my career and as a coach, and I’d love to see my players achieve more than I ever did and get to experience that.

“But coach up against a coach, you don’t look at that, you look at how you can prepare your players the best you can to combat what you are up against and hope you get the tactics right with the right mindset to deliver.”

The Knights head coach also confirmed that there will be changed to Sunday’s squad, and that York will continue to treat the 1895 cup as their pre-season preparations, with Henderson insisting that it won’t affect their mentality.

“There will be a few changes to have a look at.

“Like I said before, we’re still in pre-season for me and we deliberately didn’t play any friendlies.

“We’re not saying that we’re treating these like friendlies because they are competitive fixtures, but our mindset is different towards it.

“We are using it as an opportunity to experiment with a few different things and to ensure that we give all of our players an opportunity for some game time, just so we can see where they are at and where they fit into this team.

“We have certain areas of our game that we want to make sure we execute to a high standard, so that will be our focus.

“We’ve got to enjoy the occasion and the atmosphere, I’m sure it will be a great crowd and a great atmosphere and it will feel like a big game.

“They’ve got to get that experience, our aspiration is to be a Super League club one day so they’ve got to become accustomed to playing in front of big crowds. That pressure and the energy that comes with that, it will be a great experience for everyone involved.”

Sunday’s 1895 cup clash will also be a chance for Henderson to catch-up with some recognisable faces, with former Knights second-rower Danny Kirmond now part of Wakefield’s backroom staff.

“Kirmo is a great bloke, I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with him last year and for reasons be, he’s chosen to take the job at Wakefield and I certainly wish him well.

“I just hope that his coaching career progresses the way he wants it to, and I’m sure he’ll add value to that club at Wakefield.

“Michael Shenton (Wakefield Trinity Assistant Coach) is another guy that I know that I played with at Castleford for a number of years, we’ve got a good relationship so I’m looking forward to a catch-up with him as well.”