Batley Bulldogs v Featherstone Rovers - Former player Craig Lingard prepares for first game in charge at Mount Pleasant

Craig Lingard during his playing days at Batley.
Craig Lingard during his playing days at Batley.

CRAIG Lingard would have been left “kicking himself” if he turned down the opportunity to coach Batley Bulldogs as he prepares for his first competitive game at the helm.

The Bulldogs begin their 2020 Championship season with a clash against last year’s beaten Championship Grand Finalists, Featherstone Rovers.

Lingard made over 200 appearances for the Bulldogs as a player, scoring 142 tries during a 10-year spell from 1998 to 2008 and has a terrace at Mount Pleasant named in his honour.

He admits that it is a risk to come back to the club he has such an affinity with but is confident in his coaching ability having spent three seasons in charge at Keighley Cougars.

He said: “Some people said I was mad to take the job because it never ends well when someone associated with the club goes back.

“I wanted to challenge myself and if I turned the opportunity down in years to come I would have been kicking myself.

"But if it doesn’t work I can say I gave it my best shot because it wouldn’t have been through no want of trying and hard work and effort.

“I believe we have got the players and the coaching set-up to achieve something this year.

“We are still light in certain areas but that is Championship rugby, we have not got the biggest budget.”