JOHN Kear reckons former protégé Craig Lingard will emerge from Keighley’s current troubles as a more rounded coach.

Lingard returned to the Cougars helm last week, along with general manager Steve Gill, after the players were paid having claimed they were owed wages dating back to August.

The Keighley boss served his apprenticeship as Kear’s assistant at Batley before taking the Cougar Park job two years ago.

Kear can appreciate what Lingard is now going through after the vastly-experienced Bradford Bulls coach faced similar financial turmoil during Wakefield’s administration.

He said: “It is a harrowing time for everybody connected with the club.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to go through anything like that ever again. I think that may be one of the reasons why I’m so prudent with the Bulls’ money.

“But I think Craig will be all the better for it in two or three years’ time when he looks back on what he had to endure.

“I thought he spoke really well when he said he was going back. I’m obviously delighted for him and Steve Gill, who I know from Castleford.

“I’m certain they will do a good job there but the Keighley fans might well have to accept that the biggest achievement for this year is getting the team on the field.”

Lingard has lost the bulk of his previous squad for next season and the RFL have placed the club in special measures, which prevents them from officially signing players although they can take them on trial.

Kear admits it will be a learning curve for his former number two and is hoping the Cougars can emerge at the other end.

He said: “Craig’s certainly got the technical and tactical knowledge.

“Anybody will think that’s all coaching is but as Craig will probably tell you, and I would back him up, it’s more than that.

“There’s a lot to do with the man-management and the off-field politics.

“It’s not just taking a training session on a field of play and conducting a team meeting before selecting the players. There’s a lot, lot more to do with being the head coach of any club.

“But he said to me prior to the problems that he only wanted players at Keighley who wanted to play for the club and not just the contract money.

“That’s a view that will be reinforced with the situation they are in.

“I wish him and the Keighley club all the best because rugby league would be a poorer place without them.”