Bulldogs raring to go after false start

Joe Chandler could feature in Sunday's Championship game away to Leigh Centurions after the Batley Bulldogs back rower recovered from concussion.
Joe Chandler could feature in Sunday's Championship game away to Leigh Centurions after the Batley Bulldogs back rower recovered from concussion.

Batley Bulldogs travel to Leigh Centurions for their opening Betfred Championship fixture on Sunday, following last week’s false start.

The Bulldogs were all set for an opening day trip to Rochdale Hornets but that match was called off late last week as the Crown Oil Arena pitch was unfit.

Batley trained as usual last Friday but coach Matt Diskin then gave the players the weekend off before focus turned to Sunday’s trip to Leigh.

Diskin said: “We have been training hard and gearing up for the start and for it to be taken away late on is frustrating.

“I feel for the boys, because they have worked hard, but we have got an opportunity against Leigh this week and we will go then.

“It was a last chance for them to spend a Saturday and Sunday with their families before it all starts.”

It is understood Rochdale had attempted to find an alternative venue to stage last week’s game when it became apparent their ground would not be fit but nothing could be arranged in time and the Bulldogs now face the inconvenience of having to arrange it for later in the season.

Diskin added: “It is not a problem, though it is a hindrance having to rearrange it.

“It will probably put us at a disadvantage later in the year, but it is frustrating more than anything else.”

Back row man Joe Chandler had been ruled out of the Rochdale game with concussion but should be available to face Leigh and Batley could also have Brad Day back in contention following an injury lay off.

Batley were unbeaten in pre-season having recorded wins over Dewsbury, Wakefield, Keighley and Doncaster in their warm-up games and Diskin wants his side to continue building momentum.

Diskin added: “We’ve been talking about making slight improvements each week and we have done that.

“There’s still plenty of improvement to come, but the start is massive – it is not the be-all and end-all, but it is important to get off to a good start and build some momentum early on and see where that takes you.”

Leigh opened their campaign with a shock 34-12 defeat at home to Toronto Wolfpack and will be determined to bounce back against a Bulldogs side who will have to be on top of their game if they are to return from Leigh Sports Village with victory.