Bulldogs ready for tough Rovers test

Batley's Danny Cowling fels the force of Leigh Cenutrions defender Kyle Lovett during last Sunday's Challenge Cup tie. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Batley's Danny Cowling fels the force of Leigh Cenutrions defender Kyle Lovett during last Sunday's Challenge Cup tie. Picture: Paul Butterfield

Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin wants his side to target vulnerabilities he sees in high flying Featherstone Rovers’ armour when the sides meet at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday.

Featherstone have won five of their opening Betfred Championship matches so far and sit joint top of the table, level on 10 points with Toulouse and London Broncos.

Rovers have scored 90 points in their last two games but they face Batley just five days after playing North Wales Crusaders on a re-arranged Challenge Cup tie on Tuesday.

Diskin is upbeat about his side’s chances, having seen them produce a vastly improved display in last Sunday’s narrow cup defeat against Leigh Centurions.

Diskin said: “Fev are on fire and are playing some exceptionally good rugby at the moment but we also see they are vulnerable in certain areas and we will look to take advantage of that. We will go away and work on those.”

Batley’s squad is being tested at the moment and they only had 18 fit players for the Leigh game.

Kennan Tomlinson was handed his Bulldogs debut of the bench, while Sam Smeaton returned from injury to provide a boost. Batley lost Brad Day to a head injury in the 20th minute against and he will have to undergo relevent tests but is a doubt to face Featherstone.

Diskin added: “We have a strong squad but that is being tested at the minute and we had 18 players available for a number of reasons but we showed some big improvements from last week and we need to carry those forward into the next game.

“We had an embarrassing result against London so our biggest focus this week was to show some real character.

“Our conditions suited it as they had to get down and dirty and they did that really well. We need to take that determination and character into the rest of the season.”

Batley have only played four Championship games so far — having had matches against Rochdale and Halifax postponed — and Diskin is aware victory over Featherstone could provide a springboard to help them move up the table.

The Bulldogs have meanwhile confirmed that the Good Friday derby at home to Dewsbury Rams on March 30 will kick off at 6.30pm, while their home game against Toulouse will now be played on Saturday April 14 (3pm).