AROUND 50 per cent of Keighley Cougars' players have so far received their unpaid wages, the Keighley News understands.

Former Cougars ace Ritchie Hawkyard says he is relieved to have been paid by the club following weeks of wrangling over wages, with many of his former team-mates claiming they had not received two months' wages.

Hawkyard, 32, who joined League One rivals Oldham Roughyeds from Cougars last month, says he was owed around £2,000 by his former club for two months’ wages and win-loss bonuses.

But he claims he has so far only received one month of his wages, he is missing his November payment, and two months' bonuses.

He said former Cougars players were swapping messages of being paid by the club in a WhatsApp group today, while some have yet to receive any cash.

Hawkyard, who scored 23 tries in 41 appearances for Cougars between 2016 and this season, says he still felt for the club's fans during this situation.

He said: "I have just been paid.

"One month of my wages is missing but I'm not fussed. I have enough to get me through Christmas. I'm not fussed about not getting the extra month.

"It's a relief to have got paid. I can move on now.

"I feel sorry for the fans with what's happened and after all of the players have gone. There is still a lot of uncertainty. It seems like everyone is getting paid."

Former head coach Craig Lingard, who resigned last month over the unpaid wages and says he is owed five-and-a-half months' wages, said: "I haven't received anything as of yet. Hopefully things are moving forwards now. I am just glad the players have been paid.

"It should happen that people are paid as a matter of course. It should not take this long. It's been ridiculous."

No club representatives were available for comment when contacted today.

Indeed majority shareholders Austria Holdings have not made any public statements since November 22.

The Cougar Park club has been plunged into crisis since their League One season ended in September. Since then Lingard has resigned, general manager Steve Gill has resigned blaming 'broken promises' and a number of players have moved on to Championship and fellow League One clubs.

The Rugby Football League placed Cougars into special measures as the unpaid wages situation continued and earlier this week did not rule out taking any further action against the club if it persisted, but there were no plans in place to do this at the moment.

Keighley MP John Grogan previously called for Austria Holdings to relinquish control of the club, adding "paying the wages on time is a basic responsibility of any business".