MICK O'Neill has not ruled out a top-six finish for his Keighley Cougars side after their "unreal" start to the season.

The club's chairman, who returned in January, says Cougars' explosive start to their Betfred League One season, which has included five wins and a draw from their opening seven league games, has been "beyond belief".

O'Neill, who turns 78 on May 27, wants his side to go for more success as they look to go into positive points when they travel to Newcastle Thunder in their next clash on Sunday. They will be looking for revenge after going out of the inaugural 1895 Cup via a 38-12 loss at the first round stage to the North East side on May 4. Cougars enjoyed a free weekend to rest and recharge due to the sixth round of the Coral Challenge Cup.

The face of Cougarmania says the unity among Cougars' squad and a lack of egos among their numbers has led to them chalking off the majority of their pre-season 12-point deduction.

O'Neill, who has swapped his base in Australia for Keighley this season, says he can't believe the explosive start his side has made. He said: "It's amazing, it's just beyond belief for me.

"It's incredible, the lads are playing out of their skin.

"The game next weekend is very important. We have some big games coming up against Hunslet and Oldham.

"We've got a great chance of getting in the top six. You never know what's going to happen.

"When Doncaster and Workington were coming, they were the big boys. When we knocked off Doncaster the way we did, it was great. Buster got us out of trouble against Workington. They gave us a scare.

"People don't want to play Keighley now. Looking at the table, if we didn't have the 12-point deduction, we'd be top now. It's remarkable.

"Full credit to the lads, they are a great bunch and play for each other. The lads are just nice people, there are no ego trips."

O'Neill says a number of changes are taking place off the field, with the ground's VIP bar renovated, the players' gym given a makeover and long-term plans for a new stand.

He is working with a number of the town's other sports clubs, including Keighley Albion and Keighley Cricket Club, to forge further links.

The club are also planning to bring a garden party to Cougar Park during the warmer months of the season to further enhance their family-friendly atmosphere.

O'Neill added the fun factor has returned to Cougars and has been encouraged by the town's reaction to the club's revival.

O'Neill says he loves interacting with the club's fans on matchdays and also hopes they can enjoy an exciting end to the season at Keighley.

He said: "I don't mind chatting with supporters. I spend a lot of time with the club's president Phil Stephenson. I like having a laugh with the fans.

"I still have my cowboy hat from Cougarmania in the 90s, I love it.

"We've got over the 1,000 mark, it's filling back up. I think people are sitting back and seeing what's happening at the club.

"I think we're really going for it. I hope we can get the number six place. We could have an exciting end to the season. Let's see if we can get there.

"You've got to hand it to the players, whatever we do this season, they have done great. It's a great story.

"They are all on fire. It's unreal, it's super. To get success on the park is magic."