KEIGHLEY Cougars have gone back to the original days of Cougarmania for the head of their new-look coaching set-up.

Phil Larder, who was coach at Cougars between 1994 and 1996, returns to the club as its director of coaching after a spell in rugby union.

The 74-year-old has re-joined Keighley on a part-time basis after the club sacked head coach Craig Lingard last week. He will work alongside the club's existing coaches Rhys Lovegrove and Paul Royston.

Cougars chairman Mick O'Neill says Larder was his number one choice to oversee the coaching after being inspired while watching a video of Cougars' success of the mid-1990s under the guidance of Larder.

O'Neill says Larder is excited to return, describing him as the Sir Alex Ferguson of rugby league.

O'Neill said: "It's a reincarnation. Phil is very excited to come back. He will stir it all up.

"He is a top coach. He is the Fergie of rugby league. He was my number one choice.

"I know how he ticks. I can work with him.

"If it doesn't work out, then I have made a blunder, but I don't expect that.

"I'm chuffed and excited. He just ticks the boxes. He inspires me. I know how he works. He is a good coach. He is well respected throughout the game.

"He is still fit. It will help our coaching staff, they are excited. They are all getting to work together.

"We need new players. He is coming to meet the coaches on Thursday and have a get-together with us.

"I didn't think we were going anywhere. I could not see a future at all.

"I was watching a video of Keighley playing in the Championship at Old Trafford from 1995 and saw Phil on it. I thought let's give him a try. Let's go back in time.

"What coaches are there around? Nobody stands out to me."

Under Larder's guidance, Keighley won the Second Division Championship in the 1994-95 season. However, when the Super League was created for the following year, Keighley were excluded.

A takeover by Carl Metcalfe followed, who promised to invest £3 million into the team and the ground.

O'Neill, and directors Neil Spencer and Maurice Barker, left to make way for the new regime. Larder resigned after not being paid and was replaced by player-coach Daryl Powell in April 1995.

Larder's stellar career has seen him coach in both codes, including the England and Great Britain national teams in league and union. He was defence coach of England and the British and Irish Lions.

He was involved in World Cup finals with England against Australia in both codes - losing the 1995 rugby league final, before winning the 2003 final in rugby union.

In rugby league he has also coached Widnes and Sheffield Eagles and in rugby union has been on the touchlines at Worcester Warriors and Leicester Tigers.

Meanwhile, Cougars have been busy tying up deals ahead of last week's league defeat to Oldham.

The Betfred League One have signed Louis Sheriff, 26, who can play full-back or winger, for the remainder of the season after he left Sheffield Eagles.

Jack Miller has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal. This sees the half-back commit his future to the club until the end of the 2021 season.

Benn Hardcastle, Matt Bailey and Taylor Prell have all signed on for next season.

Jack Arnold has also put pen to paper on a one-year deal that will keep him at Cougar Park until the end of the 2020 campaign.

Keighley-born Alfie Seeley has followed suit by signing a contract with the club for next season.

Meanwhile, Josh Lynam's testimonial celebrations kick off this weekend.

A launch event will be held at the Hall of Fame bar at Cougar Park on Sunday from 3pm and features special club guests. It will include an evening with Pete Emmett from 6pm. For tickets, priced £5 for adults and under-16s free, call Darren Lynam on 07816 490013 or Daniel Moses on 07803 005875.