KEIGHLEY Cougars head coach Craig Lingard expects a tough test as his depleted side face a derby clash at York City Knights.

Cougars travel to Bootham Crescent on Sunday looking to bounce back from their last fixture, a 54-6 defeat to Bradford Bulls earlier this month.

That was the last first-team for his squad after they had a blank weekend having been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by North Wales Crusaders.

But Lingard said he got the desired reaction after he dropped 14 of the side that had been battered by Bradford to the reserves, who then ran out 54-6 winners over Halifax.

He said: "We want to get back on the field and put the Bradford game to bed now.

"The reserve game served its purpose. I did not want the York game to be the next time they would play after Bulls and play on their minds.

"It was good that we scored 40 points in 20 minutes in that game.

"The Bulls defeat was a massive disappointment for everybody. We had 3,000 people through the gates.

"It has been quite subdued at training this week after the Bradford defeat. They are still hurting and that encourages me as it shows me that they care. They feel a loss like that as much as anybody."

Lingard added Cougars face a tricky day on their travels against a side they have a history with.

Cougars suffered a feisty 25-18 defeat to their hosts in June last year, which saw former Knight Josh Tonks sent off and several Keighley players cited for foul play by Knights boss James Ford.

He said: "It's going to be very, very difficult against York. They are very consistent.

"Apart from playing Bradford, facing York away is the next toughest test.

"They have a big pack of forwards who will test you. We need to be matching them set for set. We need to get 50 per cent of the ball."

Lingard's men were dealt a double blow last week when Liam Senior and Aaron Nicholson left the club.

Senior joined Keighley ahead of this season following his decision to turn down a full-time deal at Super League side Wakefield Trinity.

But the highly-rated youngster has been unable to fully commit to training due to his university and work commitments outside of the game and the second-row forward has been released from his contract by mutual agreement.

Nicholson also departed, having re-joined the club ahead of the 2018 season from Oxford RL.

The former Cougars scholar and reserves forward did not feature in his second spell due to surgery during the off-season.

Meanwhile, Cougars' Matty Beharrell and Nathan Conroy have both been suspended by the RFL Disciplinary Panel over separate incidents in their side's defeat to Bulls.

Half-back Beharrell has been handed a two-match penalty notice, while Conroy was given a one-match ban.

Lingard said the losses of Beharrell and Conroy will be a blow to his side, but added he hopes to utility player Dan Parker will return to Cougars training within the next couple of weeks following a thumb injury.