PLAYERS are fighting for their Keighley Cougars future between now and the end of the season, according to strength and conditioning coach Paul Royston.

Cougars have a battle on their hands at the foot of the Betfred League One table, after bottom-placed West Wales Raiders grabbed their first win of the season, while Keighley crashed to a 52-4 defeat at Workington Town on Sunday.

These results have seen the gap between Cougars and Raiders reduced to just one point, as the former side have a blank weekend due to the Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals this week.

Royston says the Cougars squad are playing for their futures for the remainder of the current campaign and beyond, starting with their next game, a trip to third-from-bottom Coventry Bears on Sunday, August 4 (3pm kick-off).

Royston said: "The squad are all on trial for the rest of the season now. That's the nature of what it is.

"All of the places are up for grabs. The pressure is still on. The boys are playing for their places for next season. They know that.

"It would be complacent of any player to think their place was safe, especially after a performance like that (against Workington Town).

"The players' attitude was good. They were just beaten by a better team on the day. We still could have asked some questions. We competed well for 15 to 20 minutes.

"After Sunday, we have to hold our hands up and go back to the drawing board.

"Having a break from action is like a mini-pre-season for us. We can reassess where we are.

"The boys will be doing a lot of work away from the club with their own programmes. We have to produce more regularly on the park now.

"We're not a million miles away from where we want to be.

"The training facilities will be better, the gym at Cougar Park is being done up. Things off the pitch are going in the right direction."

Meanwhile, Cougars' head of rugby Gary Moorby issued a statement on Tuesday to reassure fans over the current situation and plans for the club's playing squad.

Moorby had words of support for the current squad after a "whirlwind six months" and head coach Rhys Lovegrove, who he dubbed a "teaching coach".

He said: "We just need to get through this season, hopefully there will be some good performances for the supporters to cheer about, the Cougar Army deserve it and Rhys and his players very much appreciate the tremendous support they receive both home and away.

"One the season is over and done with Paul Royston will do what he does best and prepare the squad for 2020, a quality pre-season is massively important as it lays the foundation for what's ahead."