KEIGHLEY'S director of rugby Russell Gibson says it could take more than a season before his team utilise their new artificial grass pitch to their maximum advantage.

On the back of a 27-7 home defeat to Old Rishworthians that Gibson called "very disappointing for everyone involved", he admitted: "Teams didn't use to like coming to Keighley because we had a big pitch and a very heavy pitch.

"The size of the pitch hasn't changed, but what we now have is a consistent artificial grass pitch, and it is going to take us a season or two to get used to playing on that by developing our game and using it to our full potential."

The loss to Rishworthians, who were a place below Keighley in 11th but on the same number of points, was the fourth in succession for Gibson's team, including the Yorkshire Shield setback at home to Middlesbrough.

He confessed: "We wanted to carry on the work of Hamish Pratt and Danny McGee with the work of Dave Duxbury and James Cunliffe, and it is disappointing how it has panned out so far.

"The answer is for everyone to stay together and to carry on working hard, starting with what is a tough game at (eighth-placed) Hullensians on Saturday.

"We need to stop giving 30-minute performances and instead give 80-minute performances."

Keighley's attacking potency has been badly affected by injuries in their backs, chiefly to Alfie Seeley and Joe Copperwaite, and, although Copperwaite has returned, Gibson hopes that Seeley (shoulder) will soon join him on the pitch to give his team that X-factor again.

Something else to look forward to is the official opening of their new pitch on Saturday, December 16 when England World Cup winner Jason Robinson, who will take part in a question-and-answer session, and RFU president John Spencer (Wharfedale) will be in attendance.

Gibson said: "We have club connections with Jason Robinson (his father-in-law is Keighley chairman Sam Griffin), who had space in his diary, and, after we contacted the RFU, so did president John Spencer.

"It is great that two of rugby's big hitters are able to help us celebrate a special day."