Star Lingard returns home

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BATLEY’S record breaking try scorer Craig Lingard admits he is excited to be returning ‘home’ after agreeing to join John Kear’s coaching staff.

Lingard scored 142 tries in a wonderful 10-year spell at Batley before retiring from the game in 2008.

He spent last season as head coach at Bramley Buffaloes but will join up with Kear, fellow assistant coach Mark Moxon and the Batley staff when pre-season training begins next week.

Lingard told the News: “Batley is a real family club and I thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years playing, which is why I never wanted to leave, it feels like home.

“Chances to work with somebody like John don’t come along very often, which is why I jumped at it and it will be great to learn of someone with his experience.

“I met John on a number of occasions for advice when I was head coach at Bramley but when this opening came I jumped at the chance to come.

“During my time at Batley, we punched above our weight but the expectations have grown during a successful spell at the club.

“We used to be content with just surviving but now it’s a disappointment if Batley don’t finish in the top four.”

Fellow Bulldogs stalwart Danny Maun, obviously, still remains at the club from Lingard’s days but the former full-back also played alongside the likes of Paul Mennell and Byron Smith and he is looking forward to returning to Mount Pleasant.

Lingard added: “When you are in the capacity of coach or assistant coach you have to take a step back. You can’t be the players best friend one minute because you will have some difficult decisions to make and have to explain why a player is not involved or has been dropped.

“John is an ideal fit at Batley and I’m sure he likes the family expect of the club too.”

Lingard is sure to be a popular appointment among Batley supporters and while he has had limited time to watch the Bulldogs due to work commitments and his spell at Bramley, he is champing at the bit to get back involved and help bring success to the club where he played between 1998 and 2008.

Moxon has a new job as a fireman at Leeds Bradford Airport, so will job share the assistant coach’s role with Lingard, who works as a prison officer.

There could be one strange moment when Lingard takes his place in the dugout for the first time as some supporters will be cheering on the Bulldogs from the Craig Lingard Terrace, named several years ago to commemorate the full-back’s record try scoring feat for the club.