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Keighley Cougars coach keen to refocus after unsettling speculation
Keighley coach Jason Demetriou has admitted that recent speculation over the future of Cougars has affected his squad – and wants to return the focus to on-field matters.
Chairman Gary Fawcett denied earlier this month that the club were in serious financial trouble. There was a delay in the players being paid but Fawcett insisted this was down to a short-term cash-flow problem and said the club were moving forward on a profitable basis.
Results since then have not got to plan, with Cougars losing 26-0 at home to Leigh – whom they visit tonight (7.45pm) in the return fixture – and drawing 18-18 at Swinton Lions.
And Demetriou believes rumours off the field have been unsettling.
He said: “Every time you pick up a newspaper there is a story there and it does affect the players.
“However, our main focus is now on our play-off match on September 9 but we don’t want to go into it on the back of two poor performances.”
After travelling to Leigh Sports Village tonight, which is the catch-up fixture for both Leigh and Keighley to bring all the teams up to 17 matches, the Cougars are at Co-operative Championship winners Featherstone Rovers on Sunday, September 2, in their final game of the regular season.
Demetriou (pictured) said: “We need to go to these places and show that we can compete so that we can take confidence into the play-offs.”
Keighley’s last outing at eighth-placed Swinton Lions last Sunday saw the Cougars’ fluency affected by the four absentees following their home clash with Leigh.
Demetriou said: “Semi Tadulala, Gavin Duffy and Craig Moss were all injured and Danny Jones was under suspension.
“It is unlikely that any of them will be back before the Featherstone game but changing four of our back six didn’t help us in attack.
“Swinton didn’t really threaten to break our line and scored from two kicks and a 100-metre breakaway.
“However, it gave some of our other squad members a chance to impress and gave them some game-time, and we might need them if we get a couple more injuries.
”Also we probably found it too easy in the first 25 minutes, and the rain didn’t help us either.”
All the points were scored in the first half, Cougars’ coming from tries by James Feather and Sam Obst (2), with Danny Lawton adding three conversions.
Demetriou said: “We are still on target to do what we set ourselves at the start of the season. Now we need to see how far we can go in the play-offs.
“As for tonight, Leigh are a good side who could finish second in the table and we need to go there and give a performance that will give us confidence heading towards the play-offs.”