Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard demands improvement ahead of Challenge Cup clash with Halifax Panthers

Batley Bulldogs will need to improve from their pre-season defeat to Featherstone Rovers when they take on Halifax Panthers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday night.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 6:00 am
Batley Bulldogs. Picture: SWpix.com.

That is the view of head coach Craig Lingard as the Bulldogs prepare for their first competitive game for over a year against their West Yorkshire rivals in the Cup. The fixture is set to be played at the Shay Stadium on Saturday evening.

Batley were beaten 36-16 by Featherstone on Saturday in their final pre-season outing and Lingard admits he was disappointed with his side’s display at Post Office Road.

The Challenge Cup clash presents a swift opportunity for the Bulldogs to respond, as their long-awaited return to competitive action draws near.

“It is going to be a really good test for us,” said Lingard.

“After the Featherstone game I was a little bit disappointed with where we are.

“I think we are going to need to be a lot better this weekend.”

The winners of the first-round tie face the victors of the Sunday afternoon clash between Featherstone and Bradford Bulls.

Batley’s contest with Halifax could prove to be one of the ties of the round. There are eight Cup games scheduled this weekend, starting with Sheffield Eagles taking on York City Knights on Friday before Swinton Lions and Newcastle Thunder close out the weekend on Sunday evening.

“It is a really good and competitive tie. In the past, games between Halifax and Batley have always been good contests and pretty close contests as well,” added Lingard.

“It adds a bit of spice to it as well that six or seven of our players have also played at Halifax.

“They will want to put in a performance, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

Lingard has confirmed that he will be without forward trio Anthony Bowman, James Brown and Dane Manning for the short trip across West Yorkshire.

Batley do not have a timescale for Bowman or Brown’s return but Lingard hopes that Manning will be able to return to action by next month.

“We are not sure as yet, with Anthony Bowman and James Brown we are not sure on the severity of their injuries. Hopefully we will find out a little bit more in the next week or so,” said Lingard.

“Dane Manning had a bad shoulder injury four or five weeks ago so he has not been able to train fully.”

Batley’s opening Championship fixture will be against Featherstone on Good Friday at Post Office Road.