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Danny Jones relishing Keighley Cougars’ clash with his former club
Danny Jones admits he needs no extra motivation to perform ahead of his anticipated return to action in Sunday’s derby at former club Halifax (3pm).
The Wales international missed last weekend’s home defeat to Whitehaven due to personal commitments but now looks certain to resume his fledgling partnership with Scott Leatherbarrow at The Shay.
Jones returned to Keighley at the start of the last campaign after just one season with Halifax, his home-town club, and is aiming to help kick-start the Cougars’ Championship campaign after two straight defeats.
New signings, prop Sean Hesketh and winger Paul White, are also poised to return to their former club after leaving Halifax last year.
Jones said: “Myself and a few others in this team don’t really need much motivation playing against Halifax. Everything is there for me to go out and show what I can do.
“I tend not to treat games any differently because I’d like to believe that I prepare for all of them the same. Just because it’s Halifax doesn’t mean it’s extra special for me. But I would probably be lying if I said I won’t be trying a little bit harder than I normally would.”
Jones returned to Cougar Park after Halifax boss Karl Harrison decided against retaining him at the end of the 2011 campaign.
There are no grudges towards the former Salford boss as Jones explained: “I’ve spoken to Karl before and he tried to sign me when he was at Batley a few years ago.
“I was still at Keighley then but these things happen when new managers come in – they have different ideas – but I was more than happy to come back to Keighley. I didn’t really want to leave in the first place.”
Cougars player-coach Paul March is set to again be without Brendon Rawlins, Ollie Pursglove, Jamaine Wray, Craig Moss, Matt Bailey and Ben Stead.
March played in the halves against Whitehaven last weekend but is expected to restore Jones to the side alongside Leatherbarrow as the Cougars go in search of a much-needed victory.
Jones said: “It’s not ideal losing our first two games but I think people have got to take into account the fact that we’ve got several injuries.
“Lads who would probably walk into our starting line-up are missing and I think any squad would be affected. We’ve just got to try and get on with it.
“With regards to Scott and me, it’s looking good. Scott is a good, young, enthusiastic half-back and he reminds me of myself when I first came to Keighley.
“He’s a bit young and naive in some aspects of the game but he’s got a good pedigree coming from Wigan.
“He’s been trained well at the academy there and he’s got a great kicking game, which will help me and the team.
“You need continuity in the halves – something we maybe didn’t have last season – although I’m not saying we’re safe from being dropped. But the signs are good and hopefully we can continue at Halifax.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars have brought next weekend’s home game with Swinton forward to Saturday, February 23 to avoid clashing with Bradford City’s Capital One Cup final date with Swansea the following day.
The Swinton clash has been scheduled for a 6pm kick-off and chairman Gary Fawcett said: “Everyone in the area will be watching Bradford City on the Sunday, so it makes sense to bring it forward to the previous day.”