KEIGHLEY Cougars impressed many onlookers with their performances in narrow defeats to Bradford Bulls and London Broncos last month.

But for a variety of reasons, head coach Rhys Lovegrove believes this Saturday’s friendly at home to Coventry Bears (3pm) is their most important game of the year yet, with just two weeks left until their League 1 opener against Doncaster.

The Australian explained: “The confidence is still there from those two previous results but the interesting thing is we didn’t particularly look at them as games we needed to play really well in.

“It was more just to see how the team was travelling.

“They were two different games as well. Bradford was all about focusing on our defence and London on our offence, because of how solid they are, and that allowed us to get a gauge of both.

“Starting with Coventry, we’re excited to try and go out to win games now. It’s a chance to play without compartmentalising too.”

Asked what Keighley could learn from playing one of the weaker League 1 teams on Saturday, Lovegrove said: “Coventry are obviously part of that group of developing sides down south, but they have a good coach, who I enjoy speaking to, and some talented players.

“It’s important to enjoy the game in the right spirit, and a chance to put some plays on them and defend against what they have.

“Those two games against Bradford and London, we won’t be playing them again this season, but Coventry we will.

“This is a good chance for us to see what the referee wants with the new rules (like six again and play the ball) too, our first time looking at the whole perspective of the game, and how we do on both sides of the ball.

“We’ll be looking at the specifics of how we play, and I expect us to look like Keighley Cougars, as I feel we have a very unique style.”

Wellington Albert (ankle) and Alix Stephenson (leg) have long-term injuries, but the news is largely positive elsewhere.

Without giving too much away, Lovegrove said: “Everybody is pretty much back (that missed out on Bradford and London).

“We’re similar to pretty much every other squad where we have a small amount of niggles, which is always going to happen when you’re training at the intensity you need to prepare for matches.

“It is just little things, so we’re hopefully that those who are carrying knocks should be fit.”

There is also good news regarding young prop Spencer Darley, who had been shielding and missed the two games last month.

Lovegrove said: “Spencer has been back for the last two weeks.

“We’ve always said to the players that family is just as important as the team, and everyone was in different circumstances.

“We chatted to them all in depth, and there were a lot of risks at home for Spencer, so he had been missing.

“But we’re glad he’s back, as he’s a big personality within the group, and it’s possible he could play a part against Coventry.”

And though fans are not allowed back at Cougar Park just yet, Keighley are providing people with the chance to watch games on Cougars TV.

The service has been running since around Christmas time, with things like player interviews posted on the club's social media channels.

But now they will be live streaming matches. That starts with the clash against Coventry and will continue throughout the season.

The club have confirmed that they will be streaming all home games, and will do away games too, provided they are given permission by their hosts that day.

Watching the match with Coventry will cost just £5, a special introductory price, and you can access it via this link.

Any issues and you can contact the club on 01535 606044 or via