YORK Knights must be at their best to record a first win of the Betfred Championship season against Bradford Bulls this weekend, concedes head coach Andrew Henderson.

The Knights are the only team to remain winless at this stage of the competition, whilst Bradford are flying high in fourth under new boss Eamon O’Carroll as they prepare to head to the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday afternoon (3pm).

York won both league fixtures between the sides last term, kickstarting their 2023 season with a 32-16 home victory against the Bulls in February, before an outstanding 20-10 triumph at Odsal in September.

However, they could not repeat the trick in the Play-off Eliminator despite holding an eight-point lead by the half-hour, Bradford running in 22 unanswered points to seal their progression.

York Press: The Knights came out on top in both of the sides' league meetings last term.The Knights came out on top in both of the sides' league meetings last term. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

The Bulls, buoyed by off-season recruits including Dan Okoro, John Davies and Mitch Souter, have lost just once this term, a 42-12 defeat at title favourites Wakefield Trinity, and head into the Round Five clash off the back of an impressive win at Toulouse Olympique last Saturday.

Both Ben Blackmore and Ebon Scurr could also return from their respective injury lay-offs for their trip to North Yorkshire, with Henderson admitting that he believes the Bulls boast a stronger squad than they did in 2023.


“I think they’re playing really well, to be honest,” he told BBC Radio York.

“When I look at their squad, compared to last season, they’ve got a better balance to it. I think the squad for them looks stronger than what they had last season.

“I think Eamon O’Carroll is doing a tremendous job at the moment with his team and I think they’re playing some really good rugby league at the moment. As a Bradford fan, you’re probably happy with the level of performance that you’re seeing from your team.

“They’re going to be a tough proposition on Sunday, and they’re playing with some confidence too. We’re going to have to really raise our levels in terms of our energy and our intent, and we’re just going to have to do the best to combat a very good Bradford side.

“But I do believe in our group, that we have the ability to do that. It’ll make for a cracking game, but we certainly have to be at our best on Sunday if we’re going to earn a result, there’s no doubt about it.”