PAUL March is poised to make a welcome return from his lengthy spell on the sidelines on Sunday and revealed he is set to continue playing next season.
The Cougars player-coach has completed a two-month stadium ban for abusing a match official and looks certain to feature at home to Workington.
The Keighley chief is also putting on hold plans to hang up his boots at the end of this season, saying he wants to make up for his long absence from the pitch next year.
The former Wakefield man, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, added: “We will play it by ear but I’ve obviously missed a lot of games this year.
“I feel I owe it to the club and the boys to make sure I go out on a high by making those games up to them next year.
“It will be a player-coach contract next year and then we will see where that takes me.
“My ban has obviously been very frustrating but some games have been more frustrating to miss than others.”
Danny Jones is nursing a hamstring strain and is likely to miss out again on Sunday along with Luke Haigh, who suffered a badly-sprained ankle during last Thursday’s defeat at Halifax.
But March is raring to go and is set to gain some much-needed match fitness for the Under-20s in their home game with Halifax tonight.
March, who was denied permission by the RFL to play for Hemel Stags during his ban, has been training with his players every week.
He said: “I’ll definitely be needed on Sunday. I’ll probably need a midweek run-out for the Under-20s to see how I am fitness wise.
“But I’ll probably jump straight back in against Workington and take a bit of pressure off Tiger (Paul Handforth).
“I’ve been training with the lads and I just need to get the Under-20s game under my belt and see how I pull up after that.”
March is also seeking a vast improvement from his men after their second-half capitulation at Halifax.
Trailing 6-4 at the interval, Cougars endured a nightmare 40 minutes and shipped six more tries to lose 38-6.
March, who caught glimpses of the match from outside The Shay, said: “A lot of things went wrong during that second half.
“We need to turn those negatives into positives and we can’t let what happened affect us and what we are doing at the club this year.
“We need to forget about it and move forward this weekend.
“We were 6-4 down at half-time and then got a penalty right after the break but then pressed the self-destruct button.
“Penalties cost us and missed tackles cost us as well.
“I couldn’t see most of the game but I’ve reviewed it this week on video and analysed it further.”
March could slot in alongside Handforth in the halves versus Workington after Paul White played there against Halifax.
March added: “Tiger was fantastic in the first half at Halifax and controlled things superbly, which is what he is there for. But it probably caught up with him mentally rather than physically in the end.
“Paul White played half-back in Super League for Huddersfield and Wakefield, so I think it was the right decision to play him there.”
“But as a team we were poor defensively and we need to put that right this week.”