Since they were re-formed in 2002, York City Knights have only beaten Whitehaven once – and that was 12 years ago.

Now, on the eve of Sunday’s big League One clash York coach James Ford is keen to kill-off any suggestion that the omens are against them as Haven are the Knights’ bogey team.

Ford, whose team will take the title and automatic promotion to the Championship if they win or draw, insists he doesn’t believe in “that kind of nonsense.”

He hasn’t taken kindly to reminders that Haven are one of only two sides to have beaten the table-toppers this year or that they ended York’s 2017 promotion hopes in a record-breaking play-off semi-final at the Recreation Ground. That game went to golden-point extra time which lasted 26 minutes, a world record.

It will have also been pointed out to the York coach that Steve Roper, who landed the field goal to win that semi-final, is back at Haven after spending most of the season at North Wales.

The Knights have only beaten Whitehaven one in seven meetings, back in 2006, and were beaten 26-18 in May this year.

Speaking this week to the York Free Press, Ford said: “Whitehaven were better than us at their place this year. We did some daft things and ended up on the wrong end of a 14-4 penalty count, and that added to the challenge which we weren’t quite good enough to overcome.

“This is a completely different game. They’re a quality side with quality individuals in it. We’re just going to focus on us playing to our potential and doing the things that we’ve done all season that have seen us win 23 out of 25 league games so far.”

Asked if his team ‘owed Whitehaven one’, especially after last season’s finale, Ford said: “Not at all. It was a fantastic game last year. It would have been marvellous to overcome them and challenge for promotion, especially bearing in mind where we started the season and how we started.

“It was not to be and Whitehaven were better on the day. But sometimes you learn and grow from a negative more so than from something positive. We’ve taken a lot from that as a group and as a club.

“We’re just going to focus on getting our preparation right and making sure our performance is good as it can be

“I’ve had a look at Whitehaven’s last few games and planned our training around that.

“That’s as far as we’re looking – getting our preparation right this week. If you prepare right, it generally leads to a good performance. That’s our focus.”