KEIGHLEY Cougars have been dealt a major blow after general manager Steve Gill left the club to join Championship side Featherstone Rovers.

The former Castleford Tigers has taken up the same post at his new club, after only rejoining the crisis-hit Cougars earlier this month.

Gill's appointment at Featherstone sees current general manager Davide Longo become the club’s chief executive officer.

It is unknown where Gill's departure leaves Cougars head coach Craig Lingard, as he rejoined the club at the same time as Gill and was a major influence in his decision to return.

Speaking on Rovers' official website, Gill said: “I am really pleased to be joining Featherstone.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for the club since working at Sharlston pit and co-operated with them during my time at Castleford.

“I’ve been really impressed by some of the things the club already has in place, with the facilities and activity off the field a real strength.

“I’ll bring some Super League experience and after discussing ideas with Dav, we have agreed there are plenty of new ideas we can bring in and things the club has tried before that we can make a success.

“I think the knowledge of the local area me and Dav bring from our experience at local Super League clubs is invaluable.

“It is important to know what the fans require and we will look to give a personal experience to them and sponsors.

“I think some of the club’s community work done through the Foundation is second to none and that is very important when approaching new supporters.”

Gill's departure is the latest twist in a turbulent off-season for Betfred League One club Cougars.

They were placed in special measures by the Rugby Football League following an unpaid wages dispute with its players and staff, past and present. This prompted both Gill and Lingard to quit the club.

But the players, past and present, were paid their unpaid wages earlier this month. This followed a mass exodus of Cougars' 2018 squad, including fans' favourites such as Ritchie Hawkyard, Scott Law and Harry Aaronson.

Lingard has managed to begin pre-season training at Cougars, despite the club's ban on signing players, with a training squad of 17 players allowed to be signed up on trialist forms. However, these 28-day-long agreements are due to expire on January 8.