IF being a player on the pitch for York City Knights is tough enough, with all the off-field pain they are having to deal with, then being stood on the sidelines is nothing short of excruciating.

Colton Roche is a frustrated figure as he continues his recovery from a broken finger.

The utility player was a spectator at Post Office Road last weekend as James Ford's men crushed top of the table Rochdale Hornets 34-20 in a thrilling performance - supporting his team-mates as he continues his rehabilitation.

With as many as six weeks still remaining until he is ready to carry a rugby ball in anger again, Roche admits he is not the greatest of watchers. But keeping his patience as the days tick by, he is aware he will be back in plenty of time for the season to reach its climax.

"It is gutting to be out, especially playing in a big game against St Helens and getting back into the really important stuff for us," Roche explained. "Hopefully, it will be around four to six weeks. It's very frustrating - especially watching the boys.

"If you are a middle player, it is really frustrating watching the collisions when you just want to be out there but there is plenty of time to come back.

"It's horrible (standing on the sidelines), especially if you aren't used to it every Sunday. I start doing some light work in the next couple of weeks and then get some contact going. I haven't even looked at the fixtures, to be honest, because I have been trying to keep out of it all and just not get frustrated.

"We have got some big games coming up. We have North Wales, Oldham. But every game is a big one now anyway."

Roche picked up the injury against St Helens and had to have surgery with finger now protected with a special cast.

"It looks like nothing but the state of it - when it happened - was pretty bad," he said. "You use everything with your hands in rugby - tackling and catching the ball and it's simple, simple stuff that you can't really do.

"In training as well, I am just at the side doing the fitness when all the boys are doing all their prep. I can't really do anything.

"It's the ring finger so I won't be getting married anytime soon! It was in quite a bad state and it's affected a bone in my hand and my nerves as well. It has just trickled down a little bit."

No egos. That is the mantra that has been the Knights' guiding principle all season long and it is what is keeping them tight together as they continue to lurch from week to week still without a regular training base or a ground to play in.

Featherstone Rovers was the last stop for the Knights, and they will be at Heworth tomorrow when London Skolars come to visit.

On the toll that is taking, Roche said: "We are going through a tough period at the moment and all we have got really is the boys and our coaching staff.

"It's (Featherstone) not home and I hate to sound like I am blaming anything but we have not had training facilities. All the boys are doing the gym in the morning before work, going to work and then going to training afterwards.

"It is pretty tough but I think, coming towards the end of the year, I don't see that it can't make us stronger as a unit. It is what is. We can't do anything about it. It is either moan about it or just get on with it.

"We have got a good group and, I think, if we didn't have a good group a lot of things could have fallen apart. We have got a rule at York and that is 'no egos' so no matter who we think we are or if we have come from Super League or the Championship or amateurs - we are all the same as a a group.

"There are no egos there and we have always bonded as a team over the last couple of years."

So what is it going to mean if, and when, the Knights are re-integrated into the Community Stadium scheme?

"It is going to be huge." Roche said. "It will be like signing ten more players - quality players. If we can just get back into our routine of being able to condition ourselves properly and then have a home ground, it will feel like York again. It will feel like home. Hopefully we will be able to attract the fans back and attract more quality players. It will be like a new start for us all. It will be fantastic."

PLENTY of players put their hands up for points towards the Player of theYear standings after the excellent win against Rochdale. Brad Nicholson and Mark Applegarth's hard-

running saw them feature at the top of the list, with the former just nicking the man of the match honours and three points.

Applegarth had to settle for two points, while the remaining point on offer went to Castleford dual-reg winger James Clare.

The Press Player of the Year standings: Minikin 17pts, Tonks 14, E Smith 10, Cunningham 8, Brining 6, Haynes 5, Applegarth 5, P Smith 4, B Dent 3, Howden 3, Presley 2, A Dent 2, Aldous 2, Roche 1, Morrison 1, Aspinall 1, Craig 1, Carter 1.