HEAD coach Rhys Lovegrove has reiterated the importance of Keighley's Pride game with Coventry at Cougar Park this Sunday, calling it "huge" for both the club and the town.

It is Cougars' second go at this, after a successful first event against West Wales Raiders two years ago, just after Lovegrove took the reins from Craig Lingard.

And the Australian said: "The Pride game is huge.

"Rugby league has always been at the forefront of breaking down barriers, and it was why I signed for Cougars, because of what we can achieve on and off the field.

"It's part of our recruitment, engaging players by telling them our story as a club.

"The Pride game is always on our calendar, we've been doing lots of publicity for it, and the players are getting excited for what will be something different on Sunday."

It is the town's Pride weekend later this month, and Lovegrove has always talked about how important Cougars are within the fabric of Keighley.

He said: "The key word about Pride is that it's an event.

"For our game, you get the experience of rugby league, but also the chance to open yourself up.

"There may be people there who've not seen much of the Pride stuff before, or rugby league before, so it's a chance to have conversations and ask questions.

"People can learn and develop, while watching the sport they love.

"This town is so passionate about its identity, with Cougars a big part of it, and I'm really happy to be involved."

Cougars are looking to bounce back against Coventry, after slipping to an agonising 22-18 defeat to Workington last Sunday on the back of some costly late errors.

But the Bears continue to improve, and have won five of their 12 games this season.

Lovegrove warned: "Coventry have been brilliant and some of those traditionally fringe teams have established themselves this year.

"It's been impressive and I've enjoyed their development.

"North Wales are up in fourth with their fluid style of rugby and then you've got Coventry.

"They now have two brilliant defensive centres, an energetic and aggressive forward pack, and Dave Scott in the halves who can dictate games."

Key centre Jake Webster could have been vital against the Bears, but he has had an injury-hit season, and Lovegrove doubts he will be back in time for the weekend.

He explained: "I don't think Jake will quite be fit for Coventry, and it is risk versus reward at this stage of the season.

"We're on a bit of a tightrope and need a few more wins to secure top six, but we also need our key figures fit for those play-offs.

"Jake is a hugely important senior player, who's played in big NRL games and internationals.

"He can help the younger lads in those big moments when he comes back."

  • Keighley have confirmed their game at London Skolars next Saturday (August 21) has been moved forward from 3:30pm to 3pm at the request of the home team.