HOMEGROWN Keighley Cougars star Jordan Aitchison is feeling positive despite the diagnosis of his heart condition earlier this month, and said he hopes to be banging on head coach Rhys Lovegrove's door within a few months.

The utility back, who has been at the club since primary school, debuted against Oldham Roughyeds last summer, and followed that with a try on his first home appearance against London Skolars.

Lovegrove praised his efforts in those games, but any hopes Aitchison had of starting this season in similar vein were cut short after a routine ECG (electrocardiogram).

Club doctor, and widely-respected cardiologist, Dr Richard Lawrence, quickly spotted an abnormality and was able to diagnose Aitchison before anything serious could occur.

Screening is a matter close to Cougar hearts, following the shock death of their stand-off Danny Jones from a cardiac arrest in 2015, and the subsequent charity campaigning from his wife Lizzie.

Discussing that with the Keighley News, Aitchison said: "Lizzie and Danny are a huge influence, not just at Keighley. What Lizzie's done, in raising awareness about screening, has had an impact nationally, maybe internationally.

"As a player, you come across ECG's all the time now and to be honest you don't want to do them. But I hope this (my diagnosis) opens people's eyes, as it's needed.

"Richard is a well-known cardiologist, and within seconds of seeing my ECG, he knew something wasn't right. He then asked me a few questions and I was diagnosed pretty quickly."

Aitchison said he should be able to get back to light training and working with the club's coaches on the physical and mental side of his game within a few weeks of the operation, which is scheduled for "quite soon".

Talking about how he feels at the moment, Aitchison said: "Naturally, I'm still in shock from being told but there's an overwhelming relief too in knowing its there (the condition) and can be cured 100 per cent.

"It's a massive weight off my shoulders and I've had great support from the club. My phone's not stopped ringing either with people wishing me well."

It does all mean another waiting game for Aitchison, but he has become accustomed to that in his Cougars career, after finally playing first team rugby for his boyhood club in 2019.

He said: "I'd played with Josh Lynam and Ben Stead from Under 8s and Under 9s, did my scholarship with them and then signed for the club at 16.

"Just pulling on that Keighley jersey is special to me, being a Keighley lad."

He added: "A lot of people say good things come to those who wait and I'll do all I can off the pitch (in the coming months) and work at being as good as I can get.

"It's down to him and whether he thinks I'm ready and right for the squad at that time but I hope to be banging on Rhys' door around halfway through the season.

"He won't get rid of me that easily."