Batley Bulldogs have squad depth to cope with injury or Covid-19 crisis, believes head coach Craig Lingard
BATLEY BULLDOGS have the squad depth to cope with any potential injury or Covid-19 crisis this season, believes head coach Craig Lingard.
It has been almost an entire year since the Bulldogs were last in action as the Covid-19 pandemic halted the Championship season in 2020.
With players having spent so long on the sidelines, Lingard expects more injuries than normal when the action resumes.
There is also the risk that cases of Covid-19 could rule players out for up to three weeks at a time but Lingard feels Batley are prepared to cope if there is an outbreak within his squad.
“With the break we have had I think we are going to need the squad we have got,” he said.
“We have got 28 players now and I think we are going to need every single of them with the injuries we are going to get.
“If anybody gets a case of Covid-19, then they are going to be gone for three weeks. There is 10 days isolation, then the week of return to play protocol.
“So if someone gets a case of Covid then you need to make sure you have that depth to get through the injury or Covid crisis.”
Lingard is open to adding another forward player to his ranks after Keegan Hirst signed for the club but then opted to retire.
“We would still like to get another middle in but there is no panic, there is no rush,” he continued.
“That is why we haven’t brought anybody in. It has got to be the right person for us.
“If someone comes in, they have got to add something. If somebody becomes available we will do our due diligence on them.
“If we go into the season with what we have got then we are happy with that.”
Batley ’s last fixture was just shy of a year ago when they were beaten 34-14 by Toulouse Olympique in the south of France on March 7, 2020.
They return to action on Saturday at 1.30pm against their Heavy Woollen rivals Dewsbury Rams. The match will be played behind closed doors but supporters can watch the action live on Our League.
Batley will face Featherstone Rovers a week later to complete their pre-season preparations. Their competitive campaign gets underway with a Challenge Cup clash against Halifax Panthers.
Clubs were restricted to a maximum of two friendlies ahead of the new campaign. Lingard is keen to get as much out of the games as he can and will aim to give his entire squad some game time before the Challenge Cup clash against Halifax.
He added: “We are limited to how many pre-season friendlies we can have and we wanted to have at least the two.
“What we are doing is going to break it down into four 20-minute quarters. We will have a normal half time and then a short break in between the first and second and third and fourth quarters.
“We will use that to rotate the team around and give players as much game time as we possibly can. We have got a lot of players in a lot of positions now.”