COUGARS head coach Craig Lingard was not beating about the bush this week as he reflected on their Kingstone Press League One Super 8s defeats at Whitehaven and Newcastle Thunder.

"Our last two performances have been pathetic," said Lingard of the 36-4 setback in Cumbria and last Sunday's 34-8 reversal in the north east.

Although the signing of Hamish Barnes this week takes the number of current Keighley squad members to confirm for next season to 14, Lingard feels that some of them may be resting on their laurels.

Looking ahead not only to Sunday's home game against Workington Town and the following weekend's match at Barrow, but also to 2018, he said: "We need to be challenging for first, second, third position next year – not play well one week and think that we have done all right or play well for three or four weeks in a row and get a good result against Toronto and then not turn up for two weeks on the bounce.

"It is not acceptable and anyone who wants to play in my team, anybody who wants to play for Keighley Cougars, has to learn to live with that expectation.

"You have to perform week in, week out and players have got to realise that.

"Some players that are potentially playing for a contract for next year that haven't been offered one, or some who have signed a contract for next year, have maybe put their cue on the rack and that isn't good enough.

"Their attitude has got to improve and I will certainly be looking for a better performance this weekend and the weekend after as well."

Lingard called Workington "a must-win game for us" and added: "Even if we don't get into the five, these are must-win games for Keighley."

As for the game in Newcastle, he said: "We have passed up a real good opportunity there and it is just disappointing how we started the game and how we finished the game.

"It has highlighted how we are quite a few players light of where we want to be and that some players are not good enough for this level.

"We should not be hoping for a favour from Thunder (at Doncaster) this weekend.

"We should have won the game, won next weekend and be thinking about the Barrow game after that – but it is done and dusted now.

"It is still mathematically possible for us (to qualify in the top five) but it is highly unlikely that we are going to get there now."