New Cougars signing Matt Bailey faces a lengthy lay-off after it was confirmed he has broken his right leg.
The second-rower or loose forward, who joined Keighley in the close season from Bradford Bulls, suffered the injury in a tackle during Sunday’s friendly victory at Barrow.
Bailey will be sidelined for several months, while influential prop Brendon Rawlins is also out for six weeks after breaking a finger in training last week.
Head coach Paul March said: “Matt went to hospital after the Barrow game and it was confirmed there he has broken his leg.
“He will be in plaster for six weeks but if a break can ever be classed as ‘good’ then that’s what Matt has. It is a clean break and he won’t need an operation.”
March admitted the loss of Bailey, who was released by Bulls after playing for their Academy side last year, was a bitter blow.
He said: “He has made a good impression in our first two friendlies. He started at Keighley and then went to Bradford, so we were delighted he chose to come back.
“Against Halifax on Boxing Day he showed he has the potential to become a first team player and then he made a massive impact against Barrow when he came on the field.
“He changed the momentum of the game and it’s just a shame this has set him back but players have to overcome injury and I’m sure once he’s had his time off and got his head right, he will come back strong.”
Injuries to Bailey and Rawlins come on the back of young half-back Ben Stead fracturing his eye socket and nose in early pre-season.
“We have a big enough squad to cope,” added March. “But hopefully we won’t pick up any more injuries.”