Batley Bulldogs are gearing up for their biggest game in John Kear’s five-year reign as head coach as they entertain London Broncos on Sunday.
Batley need to win both their remaining matches in the Kingstone Press Championship to secure a place in the lucrative middle eights stage of the competition.
Full-timers London arrive at Mount Pleasant guaranteed second place but the race is on to secure the final two spots in the middle eights and the chance to challenge for promotion to Super League.
Halifax and Batley are level on 27 points, just a point clear of Bradford Bulls and Featherstone, going into the final two matches.
Kear said: “This is a much bigger game than a Grand Final and is greater for everyone involved with the club.
“You are marked over a 23 game season rather than a play-off series.
“I think if you would have asked anyone connected with Batley that we would be one point clear in fourth with two games to play they would have bitten your hand off.”
Batley missed a golden opportunity to cement their top-four spot when they suffered a 34-6 defeat at home to Featherstone last Sunday and Kear is aware the players must put that result out of their minds for the visit of London.
Kear added: “I would say we have only played poorly in four matches, London and Oldham away and Swinton and Featherstone at home.
“The disappointing aspect was we pride ourselves on our home form and that performance came at the wrong time but we are the only people who can put that right.”
If Batley do make the middle eights, they would be guaranteed a match against Super League champions Leeds Rhinos and the Bulldogs are appealing for a large support to get behind them for their biggest home game in some time.