Championship Preview: Keighley Cougars

Last season: 2nd (Championship 1, promoted via play-offs)

After promotion from Championship 1 via the play-offs, Keighley are well behind the eight-ball even before the season started. Their close season administration has resulted in a nine point deduction for the Cougars, and they face a tough task to avoid relegation in what is going to be an extremely competitive season.

Barry Eaton will be looking to continue establishing himself as a promising young coach, having guided the Cougars from the lower reaches of Championship 1 to a second tier club once again.

He has kept faith in much of the team that earned promotion last season, including the exciting young half-back pairing of Jon Presley and Danny Jones.

Their off-field problems has restricted Eaton somewhat in the recruitment market, and he has only brought in one established signing, in the shape of second-rower Chris Baines from Oldham. Baines is joined in the Cougars squad by a smattering of Super League academy starlets with a point to prove, but all in all, it looks like the Cougars could be up against it from the word go.

Their Northern Rail Cup campaign, though, has provided hope, with three wins from three so far, including a one point win over Whitehaven.

Prediction: 11th
Key man: Chris Baines

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