CRISIS-HIT Keighley Cougars have been given an extra week for their squad of 17 players to remain on trialist forms.

The club have been placed in special measures by the RFL since their wages dispute with owners Austria Holdings last November, which has meant they have been unable to recruit signings for this season.

The game's governing body allowed Cougars to draft players in on trialist forms but the 28-day limit on that ruling was due to expire today.

Now the RFL have provisionally extended that period by an extra seven days to Tuesday, January 15, allowing coach Craig Lingard to continue pre-season training.

The club remain in special measures as uncertainty over their future persists with less than six weeks until the start of the League One campaign.  An RFL spokesman said the authority will be speaking to Shane Spencer, who has represented Austria Holdings, for "information on his plans for the future of the club".

A consortium from the Cougarmania era, fronted by former chairman Mick O'Neill, have stated their desire to take over at Keighley and this week called on Spencer to 'pass the club back to people who have a heart for it.'

Cougars face a race against time to kick off their new season, which will see them travel to Whitehaven on Sunday, February 17.

Keighley's first home league clash of the new campaign is scheduled to be against Coventry Bears on March 3.

It has already been a turbulent pre-season for the Lawkholme Lane club, which has seen general manager Steve Gill leave for Championship side Featherstone Rovers, two weeks after rejoining Cougars, and head coach Craig Lingard leave and subsequently return to Keighley.