RHYS Lovegrove is looking to Cougars' past to learn for their future as he starts his preparations early for the 2020 season.

With the 2019 Betfred League One campaign only completed on Sunday, with a 32-22 defeat to Newcastle Thunder, the Keighley head coach has wasted little time in getting ready for next year.

The 32-year-old Australian has been busy re-visiting his side's matches from this season, which saw them finish second-from-bottom, as he aims to build a squad capable of making an impact at the other end of the table.

He has committed a number of the existing squad to contract extensions at Cougar Park, including winger Taylor Prell, but is also looking to add new names to his large squad to create an environment with competition for all places on the pitch.

Lovegrove said: "I've started going through the games.

"That's my job for this week, have data analysis. We need to have key performance indicator for every position and how we play.

"My job is to go back and analyse where it worked, why and where it didn't and to streamline things better.

"The performances over the last month of the season were considerably better. The results have not been there, but the performances have.

"I have had a good opportunity to analyse my squad, who has the attitude to be able to learn? Some like playing the game, some like learning the game. I have a lot of the latter players."

Lovegrove says he wants to further tap into the passion at Keighley and boost the environment among the squad.

He added: "I want to make sure we have a group of young players who are willing to learn.

"I have a good group of lads who love playing for Cougars. We need that.

"The club has not had an easy run over the last few years, especially this year.

"I want a squad of good rugby league players, I want them to be good people, good boyfriends, husbands and fathers.

"I want to know how far and how hard I can push this group. It is an interesting challenge.

"I am expecting a competitive environment and I'm going to push that and have plenty of competition for places."

Meanwhile, Mark Barlow has announced his retirement following a 20-year playing career.

The centre, who ended his career with a spell at Cougars, played at club level for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Dewsbury Rams (two spells), Halifax, Batley Bulldogs, York City Knights and the Hemel Stags.

Cougars Tweeted: "We can confirm that Mark 'Sparky' Barlow will be retiring from rugby league following an illustrious 20-year career in the professional and semi-professional game.

"Everyone at Keighley Cougars would like to congratulate Sparky on his career."