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Fawcett predicts better time for Cougars next season
Gary Fawcett has declared himself confident that Keighley Cougars will not be fighting relegation again next season as they gear up for a pivotal campaign which could shape the club’s future.
Paul March’s side only safeguarded their Kingstone Press Championship status on the final day of a campaign in which they struggled badly for consistency.
Yet Fawcett believes the Cou-gars can make significant im-provements next term ahead of a major restructuring of the game in 2015.
The bottom sides in Super League will be relegated at the end of next season, and Fawcett is keen that Cougars become part of the second tier below the top flight – effectively a Super League II.
To do that they must finish in the top half of the Championship next season and rid themselves of the inconsistency which plagued them for much of the campaign just ended.
Club chairman Fawcett said: “This was an inconsistent season in terms of performances and results. “This was disappointing as we had the squad that could beat any team on their day. “Sometimes we dominated matches and sometimes we dominated halves but generally we weren’t consistent, narrowly losing matches we should have won.
“Next season we will deliver consistency of performance and beat teams that we should be beating.”
Cougars finished fourth from bottom in March’s debut campaign as player-coach at Cougar Park.
But they were only six points adrift of the play-offs, and Fawcett is confident they can learn the lessons from this season and be more competitive next term.
The vast majority of March’s squad have re-signed for 2014, and Halifax half-back Paul Handforth has also been recruited while other new signings are in the pipeline.
Fawcett, who stood with supporters on the terraces during the tense final-day defeat at Barrow, added: “If five of our bonus points from this season are converted into wins next season then we’ll be in the play-offs and part of the key re-structuring programme for the 2015 season where significant opportunity knocks. “Our final league placing in 2014 is absolutely critical and will provide our club with the opportunity to rub shoulders with the big clubs, of which I believe we are one and we will prove this in the years to come.
“Paul has signed the core of the squad from last season, who are all quality players, and has augmented this with the signing of Paul Hand-forth. Other signings will be made in the coming weeks. “The board and Paul are determined to deliver success for this club and put right the disappointments of the past.”
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