JOHN Kear reckons former protege Craig Lingard is well on the right track in his first senior coaching role.

Lingard brings his Keighley side to Odsal tomorrow as the Bulls play the last of their five pre-season friendlies.

The local derby is a spicy way to bring down the curtain on their preparations – particularly with the teams due to meet again next month for real in League One.

It will be Lingard's second season at the Cougars helm, after working for four years as Kear's assistant at Batley.

The pair steered the Bulldogs to third place in the Championship in 2016 – an achievement that saw Kear named coach of the year.

But he was also quick to acknowledge the input of Lingard, who had previously been on the Bulls' coaching staff, for being able to spot a good player and working well within financial constraints.

Kear is pleased to see him now making his mark at Cougar Park.

He said: "Craig is a clever fella and a very good coach. I obviously know how well he works from those four years together at Batley.

"He definitely struck me as head coach material during that time, so I'm not surprised.

"I think Keighley are doing it right with the younger players. They've got a reserve system and they look at local players as well. For me, those philosophies are correct."

Despite the League One curtain-raiser at York being just eight days away, Kear expects there will be no holds barred in tomorrow's tussle.

Historical differences, after Keighley controversially missed out on the advent of Super League, ensure there is always an edge when the two clubs play.

Kear said: "Obviously there's an element of injustice within the club with regards to 1995. Again, that's no concern to myself but I'm sure it will be a factor with their fans.

"It won't be a gentle warm-down and that's good. That would be the last thing we'd want.

"We know it certainly will be a challenge and it will be tough. Keighley won last year's game by a point and they will enjoy coming to Odsal.

"It is a good game to finish off and hopefully put the last couple of pieces of the jigsaw into place."