Bulldogs prepare to take on fancied Rovers outfit

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Batley Bulldogs face their second pre-season test on Sunday when they welcome much-fancied Featherstone Rovers to Fox’s Biscuits Stadium (3pm).

The match has been switched to Batley as Featherstone’s pitch is not yet ready from work carried out during the winter.

Bulldogs coach John Kear would have preferred an away game but is just pleased his squad will get a second run out following the Boxing Day win over Dewsbury Rams.

Kear said: “We had arranged an away game so we could practise the little things such as meeting, travelling together on the coach and going through our away game preparations.

“We are pleased to get a game as it is important to get the players on the field and it will be a good test for us.

“I would think Featherstone would be very disappointed if they are not the fourth team in the top four this season.

“You have the three full-time teams and Featherstone will then be favourites for fourth but it is a long season and there will be many twists and turns.

“This will be a different test for us as Featherstone are a much-changed side but Andy Kay has had them for a full pre-season but my main focus is on us.

“I don’t tend to analyse the opposition too much in trial games as there are so many interchanges.”

New signing Shaun Squires was one of several Batley players to have impressive games in the 18-16 victory over Dewsbury and he could get another chance to stake a claim for a starting jersey for the Championship opener against Workington on February 15.

However, new club captain Luke Blake will not be risked against Rovers following two wrist operations in the close season.