Cougars player-coach Paul March has declared his squad all but complete after recruiting several new players to the club.
Half-back Scott Leatherbarrow has joined on a one-year deal from Wigan after turning down offers from a number of rival Champion-ship clubs in favour of Keighley.
Loose forward or second-rower Matt Bailey – a Keighley lad – has also agreed a move to Cougar Park following his release from Bradford Bulls.
In a further boost, winger Gavin Duffy has agreed a new one-year deal to stay at Cougars, leaving new boss March in buoyant mood.
March, who saw Sam Obst and Jy-mel Coleman depart the club last week, believes Leatherbar-row’s arrival will give his side a major boost, particularly as he is a specialist goalkicker.
March said: “Scott is a very good organiser and has a good kicking game.
“I think he’ll fit right in to the style of rugby we will be playing next year.
“With losing Jy-mel Coleman (to Dewsbury Rams), it was important that we strengthened in that position pretty quickly.
“Scott’s 22 this month and he’s been at a top Super League club in Wigan, so his pedigree is not in doubt.
“He’s going to bring in some experience and kick goals for us too.
“Scott’s a Wigan lad but he’s chosen to join Cougars and that’s a great boost for us.”
Meanwhile, Lewis Reed has signed a new 12-month contract to stay at Cougar Park.
Reed spent six weeks on loan with Oldham last season and played only a handful of first-team games.
March added: “With JD (Jason Demetriou) leaving it leaves a big hole in the second row and I believe Lewis could step up and fill this role.
“He’s a big aggressive lad and has got great footwork and I’m excited that he’s staying.
“He’s the sort of lad we need to be keeping hold of. With the existing members of the squad having signed new deals, and the likes of Scott Leatherbarrow and Matt Bailey joining us, the squad is
now complete. That’s a big boost.
“Matt has been released from Bradford and is a big lad who can play loose forward and in the second row.”
March’s squad do not officially begin pre-season training until November 6 but a handful of his players have already begun working out in conditioner Paul Royston’s Workouts gym in Keighley.
March added: “That’s pleasing and it shows the commitment among the group before we hit the ground running as a squad on November 6.”
Meanwhile, Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett has spoken of his delight after securing a three-year sponsorship deal in excess of £30,000 with Heineken.
The deal will involve Heineken supplying their leading brands of beer to the function suite at Cougar Park for the next three years.
Fawcett said: “The deal is worth in excess of £30,000 to the club and we’re really pleased to sign such a major deal with the biggest global name in beer and lager.
“Heineken is sold in more countries – in excess of 140 – and were heavily involved in the sponsorship of the Olympics, being the main beer suppliers.
“Now they have signed up Keighley Cougars too, so it’s very pleasing."