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Keighley Cougars ready to give it their all in play-offs
Jason Demetriou is confident the Cougars can shake off their recent poor form and produce the goods when it matters most in their Co-operative Championship elimination play-off clash at Halifax tonight (7.30pm).
Keighley will go into the game on the back of a thumping 46-4 defeat at Featherstone Rovers in their final match of the regular season on Sunday.
That result stretched their winless run to four matches but Demetriou believes his side can rediscover the winning formula against Karl Harrison’s men.
The departing player-coach will recall himself and a handful of other key players for tonight’s clash at The Shay, which is being televised live on Premier Sports.
Demetriou, Sam Obst, Andy Shickell, Craig Moss, Brendon Rawlins and Semi Tadulala are all set for a return to action.
The Cougars chief, looking ahead to what could prove the final game of his two-year reign, said: “I’ve told the players that a whole new season starts tonight at Halifax.
“It’s a quick turnaround from Sunday, which I thought it might be, but that’s why I rested a few players at Featherstone at the weekend.
“Hopefully it will pay off in the Halifax game. They had a tough match against Batley on Sunday so again, hopefully that will work in our favour.
“Little things are going to have to go our way because Halifax are a fantastic team. It’s going to be a really tough ask but we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.
“Hopefully all the Keighley supporters can get down there and give us an extra boost.
“We know Halifax are a top side, with players such as Sean Penkywicz, Anthony Thackeray and Paul Handforth, who have consistently done the business in the Championship.
“They are their key players but we’ve got some key players of our own who similarly pose a significant threat.”
Meanwhile, Demetriou says he is unsure whether James Haythornthwaite will return to Cougar Park.
The centre, who has enjoyed a fine campaign, has been given the opportunity to take on an apprenticeship under a leading horse trainer and will play no part tonight.
“James left the squad and couldn’t finish the season because of work commitments,” said Demetriou.
“It’s unfortunate, and we were sad to see him go, but we understand that work has to come first.
“I know that Marchy (incoming coach Paul March) is speaking to him about next year but work commitments might come into it again.
“This is a good opportunity for him and it’s where his future may lie.”