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Coach Keith Dixon still committed at Keighley
Keighley ARLFC coach Keith Dixon admits he has unfinished business after reaffirming his commitment to the club.
The former Cougars player has taken time away from his role to consider his position after feeling he had been neglecting his family.
But having taken his team into the Pennine League top flight last season, Dixon wants to see Keighley become established among the competition’s elite teams.
He said: “I’ve had two weeks off but I’ve had phone calls asking when I was coming back.
“I have been on the verge of quitting but I don’t think it would be the right thing to do after having taken them up.
“I don’t want to go up and then come straight back down not having learned anything.”
After enjoying a successful professional career with Cougars, which saw him entered into the club’s hall of fame, the former stand-off and full back has been a dedicated servant of the amateur game.
He played and coached at Keighley Albion for many years before leading Keighley ARLFC to promotion in only their second season following the merger of Albion and Keighley Town.
But he admits his involvement can be all-consuming and said: “I have a young family and I’ve been doing this for ten years and feel like I’ve been neglecting them a bit. So that was the main reason that I have taken time off.”
Seventh-placed Keighley were beaten 42-14 at Queens on Saturday but, with three wins out of the first seven games, they have so far shown they can hold their own at the higher level.
Even defeats at some of the league’s leading sides have provided reason for optimism.
“If we can stay up in our first year it will be great,” said Dixon, whose wife Clare has recommitted to her role as joint-chairman, having also taken time out.
“We need to concentrate on beating the teams who are around us, like Bank Top and Halifax Irish, and also look to win on our travels.
“The lads are hearing what I am saying and putting it into practice.
“Against (leaders) Sharl-ston at home we were still in the game in the second half and against Thornhill Trojans we were in the game at half-time.
“There has only been one disappointing performance at Hunslet Old Boys, where we just didn’t turn up.”
Dixon said he had a nuc-lueus of 12 to 13 players who regularly turn up for training but wishes he had larger resources at his disposal.
He believes there are more players in the Keighley district good enough to play at top-flight Pennine League level, including some who are with lower-level neighbouring clubs.
He said: “The step up is big but some players are happy in their comfort zones.
“It is frustrating as some are good enough (to make the step up).
“I’ve been told about people who want to come and play but until they walk through the door I take it with a pinch of salt.”
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