Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett has denied the club are in financial difficulties and revealed all players and staff have been fully paid up to date.

Rumours circulated earlier this week that Cougars were again in the midst of a monetary crisis, but Fawcett said it was nothing more than a short-term cash-flow problem.

The club had only one home game last month, leading to a cash shortage which caused a delay in paying player-coach Jason Deme-triou and his squad their wages.

But talk that the Cougars, who host Leigh at Cougar Park tonight (7.30pm) in front of the TV cameras, could again be forced into administration has been quickly scotched by Fawcett.

The Cougars chairman said: “I don’t know where the rumour has come from but these rumours crop up now and again with any rugby league club. “I can assure all supporters that the club is moving forward on a profitable basis and all staff and players were paid their wages at the end of last month, despite a difficult July which saw us host only one league game with York City Knights.

“I’m excited about next season as we are planning some innovative initiatives. “For instance, yesterday I held a meeting with a potential major sponsor which would be a real coup for the Cougars on top of the other things we are planning.”

Demetriou will take charge of his final regular season home game tonight as Cougars bid to build on last week’s victory over Dewsbury.

The 34-6 home win over the Rams almost confirmed Cougars’ play-off spot and was further evidence of the progress that Demetriou has presided over since his arrival almost two years ago.

Fawcett believes Paul March will continue the Australian’s good work when he takes the reins next year.

Fawcett added: “It’s sad that JD is going because I thought he delivered exactly what he said he would and provided impetus and belief for the club. “He has built a platform which I believe Marchy will build upon and put the club where it should be on a sustainable basis. “I wish JD good luck for the future and I hope all our supporters get behind Marchy next season to continue to move this club forwards positively.”

Demetriou, who will take up a two-year contract at Australian outfit Northern Pride from next season, wants Cougars to finish the regular season as strongly as possible.

That means beating fifth-placed Leigh tonight in front of the Premier Sport cameras in what could be an emotional evening for the Australian.

“The game in hand with Leigh is a real tough one but those third and fourth spots are still up for grabs,” said the former Wakefield star.

“But they are a real quality team and have some outstanding playmakers in John Duffy, Gregg McNally and Bob Beswick, who can really hurt you “We might have a problem with Shick’s (Andy Shickell) shoulder but overall we’ve got a pretty healthy squad now and I’ll be looking to freshen things up in tonight’s game.

“Being in front of the cameras does give the guys a bit more motivation but I think now that we are in the play-offs, which was our season goal, really takes the shackles and the pressure off us because nobody expected us to be in the play-offs.”