CRAIG Lingard believes the Cougars' recent hiding by Oldham could be the making of them.

Keighley were thrashed 52-6 in the Roughyeds' return to their Whitebank base but bounced back last Sunday with an equally emphatic 50-12 hammering of a young Leeds Rhinos outfit.

Lingard reckons the squad have benefited from a few home truths spelled out to them last week in training.

"In the long-term, that performance against Oldham will massively benefit us because we had a really tough week," said the head coach.

"There were some honest and open discussions between the group and with individuals about what is expected of certain players.

"We had a really harsh video about the standards and it opened up a few people's eyes about what is expected of them.

"On Sunday against Leeds we upped the intensity of our defence and the execution of our attack, so I thought it was a good performance all in all."

The Cougars will complete a tough pre-season schedule with a trip to Odsal on Sunday to face League One title favourites Bradford Bulls.

It has been a marked step up from last season's preparations, which saw two amateur sides included in Keighley's friendly fixture list.

Lingard said: "That's been deliberate. We put 80-odd points on Hunslet Warriors last year but it can give you a false sense of security about where you are.

"We really wanted to test ourselves this year and therefore have played Barrow and Batley from the Championship, Oldham, who were relegated from the Championship, and a strong, young Leeds Rhinos team.

"Next up is Bradford, so come the first league game against Workington we will hopefully be battle-hardened, up to scratch and where we need to be."

The Cougars will be without new centre Cameron Leeming after the former Hunslet player picked up a knee injury in training last week which could put him out for more than two months.

Lingard said: "It is disappointing for Cam. He has shown a really good attitude and trained the house down and gone pretty well in games.

"I was looking forward to seeing him in action in competitive games but he will have to take a back seat and get his rehab' done.

"It is possibly a cartilage or meniscus problem and he will see a specialist."

Aidan Scully is battling a hip injury but the Cougars are otherwise in good health, with half-back Matty Beharrell set to return after missing last week through illness.