Batley Bulldogs are facing a mounting injury crisis as their hopes of reaching the Kingstone Press Championship Shield semi-finals begin to fade.
Full-back Johnny Campbell became the latest to be ruled out for the season when he suffered a horrific broken leg and dislocated ankle in Sunday’s derby defeat to Dewsbury Rams.
Visiting players gathered around Campbell to shield the injury from spectators and Bulldogs coach John Kear described it as ‘one of the worst he had seen’ during his time in the game.
Teammates Keegan Hirst and Joe Chandler visited Campbell in hospital on Tuesday and he is due to have an operation this weekend.
Chandler has himself been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury and is joined on the sidelines by on loan winger Chris Ulugia (dislocated shoulder) and forward Lee Mitchell, who has had a knee reconstruction that will keep him out for between four and six months.
Batley lie sixth in the table, five points behind fourth placed Workington, with five Championship Shield rounds remaining.
The injury-ravaged Bulldogs travel to Doncaster on Sunday (ko 2pm) with their opponents having their relegation to League One confirmed by last week’s 28-16 defeat to Featherstone.
Doncaster’s former Bulldogs coach Gary Thornton signed a new one year deal to remain in charge at the Keepmoat Stadium until the end of next season and he is already preparing for a tilt at promotion in Championship One.
Batley’s breast cancer charity fundraising weekend has already broken through the £9,000 barrier and with money still to come in from the sponsored walk, the club are confident of breaking last year’s figure of £9,900.