Bulldogs count down as Town opener nears

Alex Rowe drives at the North Wales defence during last Sunday's pre-season friendly.
Alex Rowe drives at the North Wales defence during last Sunday's pre-season friendly.

Batley Bulldogs are counting down towards the big Kingstone Press Championship kick off when Workington Town visit on Sunday week.

Bulldogs coach John Kear is spending the final week fine tuning his squad for what will be a tough opening test.

Kear said: “Workington are a very good side and although they were put to the sword by Dewsbury in the play-offs, they had won seven out of eight games prior to that last season.

“They have also had a good pre-season, winning their derby against Whitehaven and beating a Wigan Reserve side which included a sprinkling of first teamers.”

Batley had won their opening three pre-season matches before last Sunday’s 30-20 defeat against North Wales Crusaders.

While Kear was disappointed with the display, the coach believes it will provide the shock his squad need before the competition proper.

Kear added: “It is a blessing that it came two weeks before the start of the season and it has given areas to identify where we can work on.

“The public perception on pre-season is that it’s just about the trial games but most of the work is done in the gym and on the training field.

“It was very disappointing but I think we felt we were better than we actually were and that we had grown to think we didn’t need to work hard.

“We came up against a North Wales side who were very determined, hard working and showed great enthusiasm.”

Adam Gledhill and Johnny Campbell were carrying knocks and not risked against North Wales to give them the best possibility of being fit to face Workington.

Championship clubs must declare their 19-man squads to the RFL 48 hours prior to matches this season, bringing them in line with Super League.