Batley Bulldogs full of belief ahead of Championship opener at Featherstone Rovers
LAST WEEKEND’S Challenge Cup defeat to Featherstone Rovers has given Batley Bulldogs plenty of belief as the sides prepare to meet in the Championship tomorrow night.
The Bulldogs led with 15 minutes to play at Post Office Road against a star-studded Featherstone side on Saturday before two late tries saw them lose 30-22.
Batley make the short trip across West Yorkshire for a second time tomorrow night to open their 2021 league campaign. Head coach Craig Lingard was encouraged by the attitude from his players following last week’s defeat.
Despite missing eight of their 27-man squad, Lingard revealed his side was disappointed not to advance in the Cup against a Rovers team who were almost at full strength.
“It should give us belief, that was pretty much their strongest team,” said Lingard.
“For our guys to come into that game with eight players out and push them for around 67 minutes, it should give us a massive amount of confidence.
“It was pleasing for me that after the game my players were disappointed with themselves rather than pleased they pushed a team like Featherstone so far.
“It shows we have got that competitive edge and desire to win.”
Featherstone had threatened to blow Batley away after a clinical period of dominance in the first half saw them score four tries without reply.
They added two more in quick succession late on and Lingard feels an 80-minute performance is needed if Batley are to pick up the win tomorrow.
“If we are going to beat Featherstone, we have to be at it for the full 80 minutes,” added the Batley chief.
“It is something we have got to be really switched on about.
“We started both halves really well last week, which is important against a team like Featherstone.
“It allows you to get a foothold in the game. We completed our sets and dominated the field position, which was really pleasing.
“We need to do that again on Friday to try and get a stranglehold on the game.”
Of the eight players who missed out last week, Dane Manning and James Brown are in contention after overcoming injury.
Adam Gledhill missed the contest due to work commitments but is available for selection. Luke Hooley, Michael Ward and Dale Morton picked up knocks in the defeat and will be assessed ahead of kick off tomorrow night.