Craven injury blow for unlucky Bulldogs

Batley's Alex Rowe drives the ball at Halifax hooker Ben Kaye during last Sunday's tense Championship derby.
Batley's Alex Rowe drives the ball at Halifax hooker Ben Kaye during last Sunday's tense Championship derby.

Batley Bulldogs have suffered a blow with full-back James Craven ruled out with a knee injury picked up in last week’s defeat to Halifax.

Craven had been in sparkling form in Batley’s opening two Kingstone Press Championship matches but was injured during the first half of last Sunday’s game.

Initial estimates were thought that Craven may be out for up to two months, although the full extent of the problem is not expected to be known until he has a scan next week.

Speaking after last Sunday’s game, Bulldogs coach John Kear said: “James has a MCL injury, which could be a six to eight week (layoff).

“He did that in the first half but we will have to address that and work it out.”

Johnny Campbell switched to full-back for the remainder of the game and that is a position he is comfortable playing.

Shaun Ainscough missed the Halifax game suffering from a bout of flu but he has recovered and should be fit for Sunday’s Championship game against Sheffield Eagles at the Keepmoat Stadium (kick off 4.15pm).

Batley have three quality centres in Ainscough, Shaun Squires and Ayden Faal, who made his first start of the season against Halifax.

Jordan Grayston is also waiting in the wings for his first league start of the season and could also play at full-back or out wide.

Former Shaw Cross amateur Shaun Squires joined Batley from Sheffield in the close season having been restricted to just one substitute appearances for the Eagles, against Halifax last March.

Tom Lillycrop also made the switch from South Yorkshire, where he started 13 matches and made another 11 substitute appearances for the Eagles and both will be keen to put one over their former club on Sunday.