Andrew Henderson is proud of how York Knights have battled back from a woeful start to the Betfred Championship season - and is excited for what they can produce against Widnes Vikings this afternoon (3pm).

The Knights, who had been only kept off the bottom of the table on points difference at the start of May, now sit 11th after back-to-back wins for the first time this season over the last fortnight.

Supporters had booed both Henderson and his squad from the pitch after an abject 36-16 defeat to Whitehaven, but things have firmly turned a corner since.

A 40-18 triumph at home to Halifax Panthers saw the Knights put paid to dreadful starts that had seen them give away as much as a 36-point advantage, whilst they showed incredible spirit to score an astonishing 30 unanswered points in 12 minutes to take the spoils from 12-man Swinton Lions last Sunday.

That was despite losing both Hull FC loanee Davy Litten and Will Dagger to injury - the latter of which saw Swinton’s Jordan Gibson given his marching orders for a high tackle - and playing with Ata Hingano as their only recognised half-back.

Whilst the arrivals of Litten and prop Franklin Pele from the Betfred Super League strugglers had undoubtedly put a spring in the Knights’ step, they will be without both for the visit of Widnes this weekend.

But nonetheless, Henderson has been delighted with the character shown by his side over recent weeks.

“After the Whitehaven loss, it was tough,” he explained. “The boys were very down.

“But credit to them, they got themselves back on the horse, had a great week going into Halifax and got a tremendous performance and result there. And they’ve managed to do the unthinkable away on Sunday at Swinton.

“It’s helped with the spirit and the morale, it just would be nice, sooner rather than later, to get some continuity within the team and some cohesion.

“We’re probably not quite there yet, but I’m really excited about what the team will produce this week. They’ve got a really good opportunity here back at home in front of our fans to deliver a performance that can hopefully earn a result.

“We’ll wait and see what happens on Sunday.”

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Widnes will prove formidable opponents for the Knights this weekend, with six wins and a draw from their opening nine fixtures leaving them third in the Championship table.

Allan Coleman’s side head into this weekend’s fixture off the back of a 28-20 defeat in Toulouse last Saturday, but put more than 40 points past both Halifax Panthers and Barrow Raiders, and have a thrilling 14-13 victory at Bradford Bulls under their belt so far this year.

The Vikings prevailed 19-12 on their last trip to North Yorkshire, but Henderson is hopeful that there will not be a repeat of the scoreline from his first competitive match in charge.

“There’s no question from my end, and our end, that there is talent in this team,” he explained.

“We’ve got a lot of talented players, some really good players.

“You could argue that some haven’t performed as consistently well as they would have liked, and we would like, but that’s where we are at the moment.

“We have faced some adversity, a little bit of disruption and whatnot, but we’re not using that as an excuse. It’s a long season, we’ve still got 17 games to go, and I’m hoping now that we’re starting to turn a bit of a corner.

“We’re nowhere near our best, but we don’t need to be at our best at the moment.

“We do need to, if anything, as a minimum, show plenty of effort and the right attitude in our performances, and get that right.

“I’m sure we’ll have that in abundance this week.”