KEIGHLEY Cougars head coach Craig Lingard was almost running out of players to praise after Sunday's 94-0 hammering of West Wales Raiders, but he felt his left-sided players formed a particularly potent combination.

Josh Tonks made his return from a back injury and his efforts, alongside the free-scoring trio of Dan Parker, Adam Ryder and Andy Gabriel, were among the most pleasing aspects of Cougars' Betfred League One win.

Lingard enthused: "I thought Dan played really well, coming in at half back with Matty Beharrell injured. Josh came back and dominated down the left-hand side, with Dan and Adam, and we scored a lot of points on that flank.

"We've got a good partnership down there with Josh and Adam. Andy Gabriel has played with them virtually every game this season too and it was also nice to see Dan doing well, as he's played on the right all season.

"Josh only passed a fitness test on Friday evening, in our last session. We wanted to make sure he was 100 per cent for the York game but he declared himself fit and came through the game fine."

Parker, Ryder and Gabriel notched eight tries between them during the win, and another player on form was Ritchie Hawkyard, who crossed the line on four occasions.

Lingard was pleased with his efforts too, saying: "He's massively experienced and a lot of the work he does is normally coming out of yardage and getting us on the front foot.

"I'm pleased that he managed to get over for four of his own tries because he's normally the one that sets the platform for us going forward. They were proper full-back tries, he was backing up and really clinical with his finishing."

Lingard is hoping to welcome back the experienced Matt Bailey for this Sunday's clash at home to York, and he praised the prop's selflessness, saying: "He could have played, but he wasn't 100 per cent fit and he wanted to rest and be right for York.

"I found that admirable because he's given up his winning pay, but he knows it's important to be there for the tough part of the season that's approaching. It's great to have someone with that attitude."

Cougars have already identified the threats that they need to address against second-placed York, with Lingard saying: "They're a really clinical side who do the basics well.

"They try and slow you down with the big forwards that they've got and they try to play off the back of that.

"With their forwards dominating, it looks like they're scoring some really good offensive tries, but all they're doing is going down the middle and playing off the back of a quick ruck.

"We have to make sure we win that forward battle and our middles have to dominate theirs in the arm-wrestle. I think we have the better strike players on the edge so we can score a lot of tries there and restrict them down the centre."

Meanwhile, Cougars released Lewis Fairhurst from the remainder of his contract last week.

Fairhurst joined Lingard's side ahead of the 2018 season from Dewsbury Rams, and made four appearances for the club following his debut in March’s defeat away at York.

In that time, Fairhurst scored three tries, against York, Hunslet and Hemel, as well as earning international selection as a part of Richard Tate’s English Universities side.

As a part of his release, Fairhurst cannot play against the Cougars should he join another League One club during the 2018 season.

Lingard explained the reasons for his departure, saying: "He was struggling with the travel commitments. It's disappointing for him because with Matty Beharrell injured, he might have been able to step up and get a run in the team."

A player who has joined though is hooker Chris Cullimore, on a month's loan from Championship side Halifax.

Lingard said: "We started the year with four hookers but we're now down to two. We need that competition for places which we don't have in that role at the minute.

"We've brought Chris just to see how it goes and put that competition in there for Nathan Conroy and Ryan Wright."