ANDREW HENDERSON labelled York Knights’ opponents Doncaster as a ‘dark horse’ heading into the opening day of the Betfred Championship season.

The Knights will begin their Championship campaign with a match at Doncaster on this afternoon (3pm), with Henderson’s side hoping to build on their seventh-placed finish last season.

However, Henderson won’t take newly-promoted Doncaster for granted, with the York Head Coach expecting the hosts to be highly-competitive this campaign.

“We didn’t have a game at the weekend so it gave us a chance to freshen up a little bit, which I think was really important as it gave us the opportunity to really attack this week of training leading into round one.

“It’s a great opening round and a real challenge for us, we’re coming up against a team that want to prove a point in this competition and for a number of years have been trying to get out of League One.

“They’ve kept a large part of that promotion-winning team together, which is good for continuity, but they have also signed some good players to strengthen their squad.

“I said it in a season preview we did a while back, but I really do think that Doncaster will be a bit of a dark horse this season in the Championship.

“I think they will surprise a few teams, hopefully they won’t be surprising us on the weekend.

“We know how competitive this Championship season is and every team has the quality to challenge you and disrupt you, I think the Championship is a wonderful competition and we know that every week we will be challenged.

“Hopefully we can start the season on the right foot and with a really strong performance to pick up a good result.”

Henderson also spoke on the Knights’ AB Sundecks 1895 cup and Betfred Challenge Cup games, and admitted that he was pleased with how York’s pre-season had gone.

“We’ve had a really good pre-season and have worked on a few of the areas that we wanted to improve, certainly the attacking side of things.

“We’ve experimented with a few things in those games which included different combinations and seeing people in different roles within the style of play, as well as how it looks.

“As coaches we are really pleased with some of the things that we have delivered, obviously there are still areas that we know we need to pick up and very quickly in the season.

“We understand that we’re not going to be in that position come round one, it’s very much a journey and a process as you go on through the year.

“It was great to have the cup games for the opportunity to test every player within the squad and see who was available, where they’ve come from throughout pre-season and where they are within the pecking order of the squad.

“It also gave us an opportunity as head coaches to see the best sort of blend within the team which gives us the best chance of getting results.

“What I will say is that we have got a very talented squad at our disposal.”