A BREAK from the demands of action will do his squad good, says Keighley Cougars head coach Craig Lingard.

Cougars have a blank weekend following their Coral Challenge Cup exit to Bradford Bulls last month.

Lingard has granted his squad the weekend off as he looks at the bigger picture of almost six months and at least 18 league and cup games ahead of them this season.

Cougars return to action with a home Betfred League One clash against Doncaster on Good Friday (April 19, kick-off 3pm).

The Cougar Park side go into their 12-day break buoyed by a strong start to the season, which has seen them severely dent their -12-point pre-season penalty for change of ownership.

They made it three wins from their opening five league games with a commanding 56-12 victory at West Wales Raiders on Saturday. This saw them take their points tally to -5.

Lingard said: "We will be training as normal in midweek, then I will give them some time off.

"It is important that the players spend as much time away from the club as they can.

"It is a really long season. We have a really young squad. Against West Wales the average age of our squad was 24. They are young guys and they need to let off a bit of steam.

"I will be doing prep work. I will be watching all of the Doncaster games so far this season. I'm not getting as much of a break as the players are."

Lingard said his side's start to the season has even taken him by surprise, as they look to get into positive points as quickly as possible.

He added: "It's better than anybody could have anticipated.

"We did not know which way it would go at Whitehaven in our first game of the season.

"We put in a really good performance and have got seven out out of eight since, including our draw at London Skolars.

"We were going a bit into the unknown at the start of the season.

"We are concious we are now near to zero points. The guys are really focused on doing it as soon as possible, starting with Doncaster on Good Friday. We need to start beating the tougher teams in the league."

Meanwhile, Josh Lynam has been handed a two-game suspension after he was charged with a Grade C offence (Disputes decision of the referee).

The second row was sin-binned with six minutes left of their 14-12 cup defeat to Bulls and will now miss Cougars' next two league games against Doncaster and Workington Town.

Cougars are also willing to play a waiting game in their bid to bring popular prop Harvey Hallas back to the club.

Hallas returned to Cougars on a one-month loan deal from Dewsbury Rams earlier this season. Now that spell has expired Lingard is keen to take him on for a further loan spell. However, with Rams set to play twice over the Easter holiday, they are assessing to see if they may need to retain Hallas.

Lingard said: "There is no massive rush on that one. There has been no movement. They might be keeping him back for Easter.

"We rate him so highly. We are looking to bring him back for as long as we can. We knew all about him from having him here last year. He has developed over the last year. He is a pleasure to teach and coach.

"If Dewsbury called up and offered him today, we would love to have him for the whole year."

Lingard also lauded the signing of Silsden-based winger Taylor Prell.

The 22-year-old joined Cougars on a two-year deal after leaving Super League outfit Warrington Wolves.

He is a dual code ace after coming through the youth ranks at union side Yorkshire Carnegie, before lining up for England Under-18 and u20s.

Lingard added: "He is an exciting signing. He has a lot of potential.

"From what we have seen so far in training and in a reserve game he was straight back on it after 13 or 14 months.

"If he is that good when he is rusty, he will be challenging our wingers.

"We took a bit of a gamble in giving him a two-year contract, we both wanted stability for him."

Lingard has also called for more on the RFL's motives to try to expand the game into North America.

Consortia from Ottawa and New York will today present their bids to enter next year's RFL league structure to Championship and League One club's officials.

Lingard said: "It would be an experience, as I had finished playing before Toulouse came into the league.

"For the expansion, the RFL need to come out with their reasons why they are bringing these teams in."