Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting KNEWS to 80360, or email
March backed to boost Cougars
Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett has vowed to support player-coach Paul March with new signings as the club bid to halt their miserable start to the season.
Since being appointed as successor to Jason Demetriou, March has endured a nightmare start to his reign, with four straight defeats leaving Cougars second-bottom of the Championship table.
That led to a board meeting being convened on Tuesday night, where Fawcett spoke of his support for March and the need for further recruits as Keighley seek to stop the rot at home to Leigh on Sunday (3pm).
New signings – one from Castle-ford and another from a different Super League club – are under consideration and could arrive to bolster March’s squad ahead of the visit of Leigh, which is followed swiftly by another tough test at Featherstone Rovers next Thursday.
Fawcett said: “We review things on a fortnightly basis and held a board meeting on Tuesday to make sure the head coach has got the right resources.
“We’re certainly looking at support for Marchy and a couple of weeks ago we said to him ‘do you want some more budget to go and get some more players?’ “He is now actively looking just to make sure we’ve got the right resources because we don’t want to be here in four weeks’ time without having won a game.
“There are a couple of players we’re looking at – one from Castleford and one from another Super League club – who might be included in the team come Sunday.
“One thing we’re not going to do is lie down and not give the head coach the right resources. We want to move up the league and we need to.”
Despite the dismal statistic of four straight defeats – the latest a 20-10 reversal at home to Swinton – Cougars have collected losing bonus points from three of those matches and showed plenty of spirit in the recent 30-20 defeat at Halifax.
Fawcett added: “Halifax was closer than ten points and we had chances to beat Whitehaven which we didn’t capitalise on.
“We might have been pushing a win against Swinton had things gone our way early on, but we’ll keep battling on and it also has to be remembered we’ve been missing a handful of players through injury.”
The good news for March, who made his 350th career appearance last week, is that as well as a couple of potential new signings, Ollie Pursglove could return from injury this weekend.
Fawcett, meanwhile, insists Cougars have no problem with the controversial dual-registration system.
Halifax, Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers, Barrow and Sunday’s opponents Leigh have so far refused to enter into partnerships with Super League clubs which provide surplus players for the Championship teams.
Four of them have signed a memorandum of understanding vowing to limit the use of dual-registered Super League players and have called on the other ten Championship clubs to follow suit.
They argue that the system undermines the integrity of the Championship and denies opportunities for existing players in the league.
But Fawcett said: “We agree in principle with the details of the memorandum but the agreement we have with Castleford is just for this season and can be terminated at any time by either party.
“It certainly doesn’t stop us seeing if there are other loan players available from other Super League clubs.
“The agreement works when Castleford say these players are available during the week in the run-up to the game.
“Marchy can then decide whether he wants to implement them into the team or not.
“He’s very careful about how he manages it and making sure he gets the balance right, which is why we’ve only used two so far.
“We’re hoping that promotion and relegation come back next year – it’s still under review – but there is nothing wrong with having loan players.
“Football clubs do it all the time so every season we will evaluate who are the best partners for the club.
“At this point in time, we thought Castleford with their flexibility, was a sensible choice for us.
“They have put no demands on us as such, as opposed to other Championship clubs’ agreements where you might have to play five players, for example.
“I can’t ever see all the Championship clubs agreeing to something as a collective unit.”