Keighley Cougars will be coming in force for their opening League One game at Whitehaven on February 17.

Supporters, relieved and delighted the Cougars have been saved and will compete in League One this year, are already starting to fill-up buses for the trip north. A new consortium has taken control, with at least two men who were behind the rise of Cougarmania back involved, and the fans have rallied round after weeks of doubt and frustration.

A Whitehaven official said: “It’s great to see, especially for the rugby league fans of Keighley and we look forward to seeing them at the Recreation Ground in less than three weeks’ time. It looks as though they are going to be well-represented on the terraces and, from previous experience of the Cougars, they are going to be enthusiastically supported.”

Keighley, however, will have a bit of catching-up to do as they have been docked 12 points because of the financial difficulties they have finally extricated themselves from. Before Haven can think about Keighley, they have a tough final warm-up game to contest when Newcastle Thunder visit the Recreation Ground on February 10. There’s been much debate among followers of teams in League One that the bookies have put in Newcastle as second favourites to win the title. Whitehaven fans will get an idea of how well the bookies have called it when they watch Thunder take on their side.