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Keighley Cougars must keep close eye on Paul Cooke
Cougars player-coach Paul March expects Paul Cooke to pose a serious threat when his side travel to Doncaster in their final pre-season friendly on Sunday (3pm).
March has crossed swords with the former Hull FC and Hull KR play-maker plenty of times down the years and is wary of the 31-year-old stand-off’s creative talents.
Cooke, who has had a chequered career, missed Doncaster’s 44-16 friendly win over Featherstone Rovers under-20s last Friday due to injury but it is believed he could return against the Cougars.
March, whose side were defeated 32-16 at Batley last Sunday, said of Cooke: “His brain is still very sharp and he’s a top player.
“He’s probably similar to myself, in that his brain probably works quicker than his body nowadays, but he’s still very skilful with the ball in hand.
“He’s had a good career at the two Hull clubs and won the Championship One player of the year last season at Doncaster, so that shows you he’s still got what it takes to be a quality player.
“Having said that, there are 16 other players we need to be aware of and Craig Fawcett is a quality half-back too.
“He played here at Keighley and I coached him at Hunslet, so the match will be a real challenge for us and I don’t think there will be much between us.”
Danny Lawton and Jamaine Wray picked up shoulder and knee injuries respectively during last weekend’s defeat at the hands of Batley.
They were set to be assessed in training this week as they seek to be passed fit for the Championship opener away to the Bulldogs on February 3.
However, Scott Law and Daley Williams – who have both returned this season after spells away from Cougar Park – are likely to be involved against Doncaster this weekend as Keighley bid to bounce back from their loss to John Kear’s side.
March said: “Hopefully Danny and ‘Killer’ will be fit for the start of the season but we will assess them in training.
“Scott and Daley will play this weekend along with a few more of the younger lads.
“Last week’s game against Batley was a good test for us and a chance to try out different systems.
“I don’t think either myself or John wanted to give much away but there were positive signs and Doncaster is another chance for us to build on that.”