Cougars player-coach Paul March is quietly confident his side can maintain their encouraging start to the season when they travel to Championship rivals Workington on Sunday.
Keighley have picked up two wins from their opening four matches and were unlucky not to beat leaders Leigh at home in their last league outing.
Having last weekend dispatched Cumbrian amateur outfit Wath Brow Hornets to reach the Challenge Cup fourth round – where they have been drawn at home to Barrow Raiders – March says his side are in buoyant mood.
Like Cougars, Workington have two wins from four games so far and they recently appointed former Bradford assistant coach Phil Veivers, who was sacked by Salford 12 months ago.
Player-coach March, who will keep any changes to a minimum this week, said: “It’s a tough trip going up to Workington but we’ve got to be confident about what we do.
“These first four games we’ve focused on ourselves and that has paid dividends with the tries we’ve scored and our defence, so we’ll go up there and then play Sheffield and, with two wins, we’ll be right up there.
“Workington have a new coach installed now so he’ll be trying to change things but for us we’ll go up there and if we stick to our game plan I’m sure we’ll get the victory.”
Meanwhile, March has revealed he appealed against his four-match ban for questioning the integrity of a match official because he felt so strongly about the decision.
The 34-year-old former Wake-field and Huddersfield utility player denied the offence, which occurred during the Cougars’ 30-12 Championship defeat at Doncaster on February 23, but he was found guilty at a Rugby Football League disciplinary panel.
March, who was also fined £100, has to sit out two more league games after missing the Leigh defeat and last week’s Challenge Cup tie.
He said: “It’s the first time in 19 years that I’ve appealed against any ban.
“Yes, I’ve been a bad boy in the past but I felt the appeal was right because I felt so strongly about it.”
March failed to overturn the ban, adding: “We were there for four hours and they didn’t listen to a word I had to say but I’ve got two games left and I’ll be ready to go when the ban finishes.
“It’s one of them and I’ll get on with it now. I’ve enjoyed my time on the sidelines just watching how my team’s going and I’ve learnt a lot from that.
“If the side continue to perform as they are doing I’ll be on the sidelines a bit longer.”
Meanwhile, March is hoping next month’s fourth-round tie at home to Barrow could give his side a chance to play one of the big boys in the next round should they progress.
The match will be played on the weekend of April 5-6 and March said: “We’ve got a home tie against a Championship side so I’m happy.
“Last time the club got to the fifth round of the Challenge Cup was a long time ago and that’s what we want to do now.
“The financial implications of getting through the rounds are massive and as a club moving forward we need that.”