KEIGHLEY Cougars are taking shape a week before the Betfred League One big kick-off, according to head coach Craig Lingard.

Cougars' recruitment drive continues at a pace, with Lingard busier than a football manager on transfer deadline day as he assembles his squad for the new season.

He has brought in Billy Gaylor, who can play hooker or in the halves, and originally signed for Cougars from Coventry Bears in 2017. Gaylor made six appearances last season, including eight points in the club record victory against West Wales Raiders in September.

Second row Matt Bailey has re-signed. The two-time player of the year has committed to a seventh-consecutive season at Cougar Park.

Cougars have also made a double raid on fellow League One side Hemel Stags.

Jordan Parry, a winger and Scotland Students international, scored two tries in 15 appearances at Pennine Way last year. Alex Williams, who can play in the centre or the back row, arrives following two years with Stags.

Josh Lynam has extended his spell at Cougar Park to a seventh season. He has scored 34 times in 115 appearances since making his debut in 2013.

Chris Cullimore, who scored two tries in seven appearances during a loan spell last season, joins the Cougars from Halifax for his third spell with the club. They join Benn Hardcastle, Alfie Seeley, Scotland international Davey Dixon, half-back Jack Miller and Serbian international Jason Muranka, who initially signed for Cougars in November last year.

Lingard said: "Most of the players who have been named publicly for our squad have been training with us for a while now. They might be new to supporters, but not to us.

"We hope to pick up a few players before the start of the season. We are on the lookout. We will see if we can get some players in on loan or permanently. But it is difficult this time of season, with league games coming up, everyone is fighting for a shirt.

"They are some very good players around who are not with high-profile teams. We are looking at Super League academy, Championship and League One players.

"We have had a lot of offers from clubs for players, the rugby league community has been fantastic. Sheffield, Bradford and Leeds are just some of the clubs who have offered to loan us players. But it's got to be right for us, we've got to be selfish.

"I would have liked to have done this four or five weeks ago, but we've just got to deal with it how we can."

Lingard is also looking forward to the club's only pre-season friendly after last Friday night's home clash against Featherstone Rovers fell victim to a frozen pitch.

He added: "It was massively disappointing that we couldn't play last Friday.

"By this stage of pre-season we would have liked to wind down before the season, but we've got to give everyone gametime against Leeds. Some players might only play for around 25 minutes. It is a chance for our players to shine. We had a training game against Dewsbury Rams last week.

"It will be a great occasion against Leeds, whatever side they bring. There is plenty of ability with their young lads. It is a really good test for us, our first as a team.

"We want to get as many people down there as we can to welcome in the new era.

"I've read things from fans on social media saying they haven't been to the club for years, but plan to come back now."

New Hope. New Era. New Look was the social media tagline as Cougars introduced their new club badge last week.

Paul Royston has also rejoined the coaching staff, while Hardcastle will be the Cougars' captain for the 2019 season with Lynam appointed vice-captain.

The club is also kitted out with a new look for the forthcoming campaign, which have a nod to the past.

Ravensport UK has been announced as Cougars' new suppliers of both kit and off-field gear for the 2019 season. The kits are inspired by Cougarmania and club legend Danny Jones. The home shirt is mostly red and features green and white claws on each shoulder, while the away jersey is all white with a green and red V-shape on the front.