BATLEY Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin is pleased with the way his side are progressing with the new Championship season just over a month away.
Batley will follow up their 28-16 triumph away to Dewsbury on Boxing Day with their stellar pre-season friendly at home to Super League side Wakefield Trinity on January 14 in a fixture that will see former Bulldogs prop Keegan Hirst returning to the club.
The Bulldogs then face consecutive trips to League One sides Keighley Cougars (January 21) and Doncaster (January 28) before they begin the league campaign with three successive away games at the start of February.
Diskin was happy with his side’s display at Dewsbury but is determined his side will be firing on all cylinders for the season opener away to Rochdale on February 4.
Diskin said: “We are making steady improvements working towards our first game against Rochdale.
“We have a tough start to the season, especially at the time when everyone has full squads and teams who are raring to go.
“Teams are going to want to start flying in Rochdale and Swinton and then you put Leigh into the mix as well, it is a very tough start for us.”
Tom Hemingway had an impressive game in his first outing for Batley and scored a crucial 61st minute try against his former club that helped edge the Bulldogs in front.
Full-back Johnny Campbell opened the scoring on his return to the Bulldogs from Bradford Bulls.
There was also a first run out for 20-year-old back rower Keenen Tomlinson, who has signed a one-year deal with Batley following a successful trial with the club, while their other new signing, Izaac Farrell, didn’t feature on Boxing Day.
Diskin added: “Tom Hemingway played half-back for us, he took his try well, which would have been nice coming back (to Dewsbury).
“James Harrison was outstanding, playing the full 80 minutes and was a handful all game and there were some good solid performances.
“We have Patch Walker and Dom Brambani and then Tom Hemingway and you also have Izaac Farrell to add into there who brings something a bit different, so we are really confident in the ability we have in the halves.
“We have a big pack and we know if we can put the half-backs in the right areas of the field, we will score points.”