Hemel Stags ready for crunch battle with the Knights

Hemel Stags club crest
Hemel Stags club crest

York City Knights coach Gary Thornton is keen for his side not to underestimate fourth-placed Hemel Stags when the two sides meet on Sunday.

York lost at home to Oxford in April but Thornton says his young squad is now coming to terms with life in Kingstone Press Championship One.

Thornton said: “Hemel, like a lot of teams in the division, are a very dogged side.

“They’re very enthusiastic and keep coming at you, and Jymel Coleman is a real threat who has played at a higher level.

“They will be tough opposition and are a big team, but we’re learning week by week.”

Knights back rower Jason Golden will see another specialist after dislocating his should against London Skolars having had three operations in the past.

Austin Bell, Kris Brining, Harry Carter and Iain Morrison are still sidelined, but James Ford returns from a groin complaint.

Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins is still without key Australian recruits Mitchell Barbera and Ben Thorburn plus Ciaren Clement-Pascal, who are all long-term absentees.

Perkins said: “We’ve never played York before but they’re a side that is right up there with Hunslet and Oldham as one of the teams tipped to win the league.

“It’s going to be tough because they have a lot of players with experience in the Championship.

“We know what we need to improve on and that’s taking our opportunities and hanging onto the ball a bit better.

“We’ve been making it difficult for ourselves.”