MAKING Cougar Park a fortress will help Keighley continue to erase their -12-point deduction, according to head coach Craig Lingard.

Cougars entertain third-from-bottom North Wales Crusaders in Betfred League One on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) after picking up a point in an 18-18 draw at London Skolars last weekend.

With a healthy increase in crowds and renewed optimism in the town, Cougar Park has already proved to be a happy home for Keighley this season. They grabbed a 28-14 victory over Distington in the Challenge Cup third round, which followed a 40-8 home league victory over Coventry Bears.

Lingard has also warned starting places are on the line for his players as they face Bradford Bulls in the Challenge Cup fourth round on March 31, if they fail to stay fully focused on Sunday's clash.

He said: "Home form is essential for us. If we can chalk up the majority of wins at home and then some points away, that would do us good.

"We want to make sure we don't make it easy for any team that takes points away from Cougar Park. We want to win as many games as we possibly can at home. We want to make Cougar Park a fortress.

"The position where North Wales are is a false one. They are a very good team. They have played all the teams up there so far. They have played Workington Town, Oldham and Hunslet. They have had a really difficult start, I have not read too much into that. North Wales do cause you a lot of problems.

"We are not thinking about the Bulls game, we are only focused on the next game. That is the most important one.

"We are not fixating about the points total. We are taking each result as we can and we are still learning a lot about each other.

"If we win on Sunday we will be nearly halfway there of getting rid of the points deduction."

Meanwhile, Cougars' Betfred League One home fixture against Oldham Roughyeds will now be played on Saturday, May 25, with a 6.30pm kick-off.

Cougars' 1895 Cup First Round tie at Newcastle Thunder will be played at Kingston Park on Saturday, May 4 (2.30pm).

Meanwhile, Lingard is open-minded about news a bid to establish a professional rugby league club in New York has moved a step closer, along with a possible re-location of Hemel to North America.

A business plan on behalf of a New York consortium was lodged with the Rugby Football League (RFL) by Huddersfield entrepreneur Ricky Wilby 18 months ago and will now be considered by Championship and League One clubs.

The RFL is also considering a move by Toronto founder Eric Perez to relocate Hemel following his successful takeover of the Southern Conference club.

An RFL spokesman confirmed the governing body's board considered the two applications at last week's meeting.

Lingard added: "It's an interesting one. If it's right and it won't cost the clubs anything extra, then why not?"