Whitehaven's opening game in League One on February 17 looks to have been assured.

There were grave concerns when the Cumbrians were paired with Keighley that the first game of a new season wouldn’t actually take place.

Keighley had major financial difficulties; were under special measures and had lost players, the coach and general manager.

But the Cougars appear to be almost completely back in business as the owners, Austria Holdings UK, appear to have paid the back money owed to players, while coach Craig Lingard and general manager Steve Gill have returned to Lawkholme Lane.

The only thing that remains to be done is have special measures removed so that they can start signing new players, as they have lost half a dozen of their best-known performers.

Keighley resumed training last night and Lingard was expecting 16 players to have re-signed while he has another four coming in for a trial period.

Whitehaven coach Gary Charlton, and officials at the Recreation Ground are pleased that Keighley are back in business.

Charlton said: "Obviously, we don’t want to lose any more clubs from League One after Hemel’s departure left us with one less and only 10 home fixtures.

"It is good that they have got themselves sorted."

Chairman Tommy Todd said: "It would have been a tragedy if a long-established club like Keighley had gone out and we are pleased that we will see them at the Recreation Ground in February."

Meanwhile, Whitehaven are closing in on a new forward as pre-season training steps up a gear ahead of the opening friendly. A south Cumbrian forward, who has been training at the Recreation Ground, is close to agreeing a deal with the League One club.

Head coach Charlton has been very pleased with the way his squad has been taking shape but he is still keen to bolster his pack.

"Everything has been going really well in the training and the players seem to be enjoying it and working very hard at the same time. We just need a few more bodies in before the season gets under way and it would be nice to have them in before the warm-up matches," said Charlton.