Bulldogs prepared for tough cup test

Tom Holmes is one of six Bulldogs who will not make the trip to France for Batleys Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Toulouse.
Tom Holmes is one of six Bulldogs who will not make the trip to France for Batleys Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Toulouse.

Batley Bulldogs will bid to avenge their opening Championship defeat at Toulouse when they return to France in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fourth round on Saturday (kick off 2.30pm).

Batley’s players and supporters face a second trip to the continent in the space of just six weeks and coach Matt Diskin is well aware of the task his side face having lost 44-6 at Toulouse last month.

Batley also face selection problems ahead of the game, with Dominic Brambani, Macauley Hallett and James Davey not travelling as their partners are all due to give birth.

Cain Southernwood is ruled out with a broken rib, while Will Maher and Tom Holmes are unavailable.

The game also has a change of venue and will take place at Toulouse’s old ground of Stade Arnauné in the city.

Despite the disruption, Diskin remains confident his side can produce a determined display in France.

He said: “We had good preparation last time and were full of confidence but we got brought back down to earth.

“We are under the cosh a bit but we are not going to start making excuses before we have even got there.

“We want to go there and produce a good, charismatic performance and I have got confidence that the players we have got can do a job.

“We will only have one half-back, which affects the way we play, but every game we take to the field, we expect to win.”

The Bulldogs squad will fly out tomorrow, with full details of the travelling party still to be finalised, while some of the support staff will join up with the team on Saturday.

Diskin has called on his squad to find consistency as they have won three and lost three of their opening six games in the Kingstone Press Championship.

The Bulldogs went down 44-22 at Bradford Bulls last Sunday but Diskin is confident Batley can turn things around on go on a winning run.

He added: “This team and group have been riding the wave of last year but we now need to roll our sleeves up and get dirty.

“Last week was self inflicted through our own indiscipline, our lack of respect for the ball and field position and it was a real disappointment.

“The players sat down and talked and know where they have been going wrong.

“It is a good group of players, they just need to start finding some form of consistency.”