York City Knights were one of the sides who have had a lot of turnover in the off-season and it hasn’t been limited to just players, as it has for most Championship sides, as there’s a new face in the head coaching seat.
Following Mark Applegarth recruiting James Ford as his assistant at Super League side Wakefield Trinity, the Knights were left without a head coach but that was remedied when they recruited Andrew Henderson to take up the role.
Since then they’ve added more experience with Ged Corcoran, the Irish international coach who led his nation out at the World Cup including a historic win over Jamaica, joining the Championship side this week.
York will head to Doncaster for their first pre-season run out on Sunday and Henderson has been speaking with BBC Radio York about his first game in charge and what fans can expect.
“It’s been very productive, with the players that we’ve had available on that training field I think they’ve really given a good account of themselves. I think they’ve showed commitment to the training programme, they’ve showed buy-in and there’s been a lot of development in that six weeks leading into Christmas and this first week since Christmas.
“What hasn’t been ideal is that we’ve not had the numbers on the training field enough, we had a number of guys who took injuries into the off-season and they’ve been rehabbing, but we’ve also had to deal with players having time-off after the World Cup as well. A number of guys have also returned to Australia having not had that opportunity for a number of years due to Covid.”
Whilst Henderson hasn’t had the full availability of his squad, something that he earlier stated had reflected upon which players earned which squad numbers as reported here, he was upbeat about the prospects of their fixture against Doncaster on Sunday.
“We’ll have a squad of 20 players available, one of those will be a triallist as well but 20 is what we’ve got available so that’s what we’ll be rolling with on Sunday. There’s certain things we’ve driven in the initial pre-season phase so it’d be good to see those but I just want the players to compete.
“I’m going to use these friendlies as an experiment o have a look at a few players in different positions and have a look at what will be the best balance within the team and that’s what friendlies are for.
“The reality is that it’s more about the players getting that game fitness and the miles in the legs, getting the lungs going and the timing back with their tackling and skills.”