Cougars player-coach Paul March is confident his side can overcome the loss of in-form Ash Lindsay and pose a serious challenge to Sheffield Eagles in Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship home clash.
Keighley are in buoyant mood after claiming a highly impressive 24-22 win at Workington last weekend to maintain their encouraging start to the season.
The match saw second-rower Lindsay, a close-season signing from Batley, suffer a broken leg at Derwent Park and he is set for several weeks on the sidelines.
Captain James Feather will also be out for another month or so as he recovers from a groin injury but March is looking forward to the visit of the Eagles with cautious optimism.
“Sheffield are back-to-back champions, so it would be fantastic to take their scalp,” he said.
“Cougar Park isn’t a happy hunting ground for them and we’ve done well against them at home over the last few years.
“It’s up to us to make sure that we play like we have in the last few weeks. We’ll be underdogs but, as we showed when we played Leigh at home recently, we can be dangerous when we’re like that.
“Ash Lindsay is out and someone else will come in but I’m happy with the way things are going and the support we’re getting at Cougar Park. It’s certainly increasing, so let’s hope we get another big crowd to cheer us on.”
March said of the injury setbacks to Lindsay and Feather: “We brought Ash to the club to do a job for us and he’s doing that with the way he takes the ball forward.
“He will be missed but, like any injury, it opens the door for someone else to come in and replicate what Ash has done for us.
“It’s a broken leg but we’re not quite sure on the timescale yet. As for Buster, he’s seen the specialist and had all the scans, which have revealed he’s got a tear on the adductor on his groin.
“But he doesn’t need surgery on it, so he’s in rehab’ at the minute and will be working with Paul Royston to get back up to speed as soon as possible.
“He will probably be out for three to four weeks but we don’t want to rush him back because that would just put him back to square one.”
Back-rower Josh Lynam and prop Sean Hesketh were named in the Championship team of the week following their outstanding displays at Workington.
Lynam scored twice and March, who will serve the final game of his four-match ban this weekend, said: “Josh was excellent and he has been for the past few weeks.
“He did 80 minutes again and his defensive work, along with the lines that he runs, are superb.
“People forget that he’s only 19 as well. He’s got a massive future in the game and I’m sure he will go on to bigger and better things.
“I think he would develop quicker in a full-time environment, and there are a number of teams keeping tabs on him, but we’ll see what happens.”
Sunday’s game is a memorial match for the late and much-loved Cougars supporter Phil Lund.