New Cougars recruit Ash Lindsay will miss the start of the season after suffering a partial shoulder dislocation that will rule him out for up to six weeks.
The loose forward, a close-season signing from Batley Bulldogs, sustained the injury during last week’s home defeat at the hands of Dewsbury Rams.
Cougars are assessing the ligament damage to the connective tissue around his shoulder but the initial prognosis is a six-week spell on the sidelines.
Head of strength and conditioning Paul Royston said: “It’s looking like Ash will be out for six weeks but hopefully he will be back sooner.
“His shoulder popped out and was put back in at hospital but any ligament damage will need time to heal.”
Lindsay had made a good impact since arriving at Cougar Park in the close season, impressing Paul March. It is another blow to the head coach’s plans following the news that centre Lewis Graham will miss the start of the campaign.
Graham had been earmarked as a potential replacement for James Haley, who is continuing his recovery from a shoulder operation. But Graham has dislocated a knuckle and broken his hand and will be in plaster for over a month.
“Lewis is going to miss the start of the season unfortunately,” said March.
“We still have James Haley recovering from shoulder surgery and Lewis would have been an ideal person to slot straight in there.
“What it will do, though, is give somebody else an opportunity to stake their claim.”
The Cougars have lost their last two pre-season friendlies against Barrow and Dewsbury. Their next warm-up fixture is at Batley on Sunday, February 9 before the Championship opener at home to Whitehaven seven days later.
Captain James Feather has copped a one-match ban as punishment for a grade B shoulder charge in the 79th minute of the recent Barrow defeat.
He will now miss the trip to Batley and said: “I’m a bit disappointed and if it was during the season I would definitely appeal it. As it stands, I just miss one friendly match.”
Feather expressed his frustration after last week’s disappointing pre-season defeat, which saw Dewsbury outshine Keighley in a 20-12 success.
The long-serving hooker admitted it should serve as wake-up call as the opening day of the season on February 16 ticks ever closer.
“I’m glad that happened before we get the chance to go to Batley because we got a bit carried away with ourselves after beating Rochdale,” said Feather.
“We sent a weaker side up to Barrow and a few first-teamers came back against Dewsbury but we fell in love with ourselves after the Rochdale game.
“It’s better it happens now when we’re still in pre-season and before we face Whitehaven.
“The Dewsbury game has given the lads a kick up the backside because we did a lot of stuff that wasn’t in the game-plan.
“We need to get back on track but it’s always tough at Batley and they are rarely high-scoring games either.
“There is a massive slope at Mount Pleasant, so it is a dogfight. I’m sure we are going to send a strong team out there even though I’ll be missing myself.”