KEIGHLEY ARLFC coach Keith Dixon admits he is short of players as his club prepare for life in the Pennine League Championship this season.

The Rose Cottage outfit have dropped down a level in the revised divisional structure, having finished third from bottom last season in the top flight.

Keighley failed to fulfil a fixture in that campaign – an infringement which has traditionally meant automatic relegation from the Premier Division – but Dixon said his side were given the option of continuing in the top tier.

However, he said: “We are a bit short on numbers so we’re going to play in the Championship.

“Some of the lads who play are calling it a day due to work commitments.”

Initial pre-season training turnouts have been poor but Dixon is hoping to pick up some players once Cougars under-20s’ and Airedale Cougars’ summer seasons finish.

He said: “We need a few more players in over the next few weeks as there is not much time before the season starts (Saturday, September 6). We’ll just have to suck it and see.”

Dixon added that some of his more experienced players had opted to return to Keighley Albion, who have relaunched an open-age side in Division Six.

PENNINE LEAGUE STRUCTURE – Premier Division: Chequerfield Rangers, Drighlington, Fryston, Methley Royals, Queens, Sharlston Rovers, Thornhill Trojans, Upton, West Bowling.

Championship: Bentley Good Companions, Brighouse Rangers, East Hull, Halifax Irish, Illingworth, Keighley, King Cross Park, Morley Borough, New Earswick All Blacks, Queensbury, St Josephs.

Division Three: Castleford Panthers, Clayton, Crigglestone All Blacks, Dearne Valley Bulldogs, Eastmoor Dragons, Moorends Thorne Marauders, Queensbury A, Silsden, Stanningley, Whinmoor Warriors.

Division Five: East Leeds, Guiseley Rangers, Harehills, Hollinwood, Ovenden, Siddal A, Slaithwaite Saracens, Thornhill Trojans A, Wetherby Bulldogs, Worth Village.

Division Six: Beeston Broncos, Cowling Harlequins, Garforth Tigers, Halton Moor Storm, Hanging Heaton, Illingworth A, Keighley Albion, Leeds Underdogs, Meltham All Blacks, Ryhill Hammers.