Ambitious Keighley purchase Powell

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The Independent Online
Keighley, a Second Division club struggling along on gates in the hundreds a few years ago, yesterday made spectacular provision for life in the First by signing the England captain, Daryl Powell, for £100,000, writes Dave Hadfield.

Powell, the first player signed by Sheffield Eagles 11 years ago, has agreed a contract for the rest of this season and another three. "It's a marvellous signing for us," the Keighley coach, Phil Larder, said. "He is one of the most skilled, committed and courageous of players, as he has proved playing for Great Britain at the highest level."

The 29-year-old Powell, who will make his debut at home to Swinton on Sunday, admitted that it was a wrench to leave Sheffield. Financial security and the opportunity to play a key role at another developing club were the deciding factors, he said.

"It will be very strange not to have him at Sheffield," the Eagles manager, Gary Hetherington, admitted. "But Keighley have been able to give Daryl the long-term security he was seeking and meet our valuation of him."

Powell still had a year of his contract to run at Sheffield, but Hetherington's policy would have been against offering him an extension to match Keighley's three-year deal.

Keighley, who raised £70,000 towards the Powell fee from new sponsors in three days last week, plan three more signings - two of them internationals - in readiness for the First Division. Despite recent fluctuations of form, they will be assured of promotion if they win two of their four remaining matches.

Other deals to beat the deadline yesterday included Dewsbury's recruitment of Robert Turner from Doncaster and the Kenyan winger, Eric Kibe, from Hunslet.