BATLEY coach Matt Diskin says that this weekend’s Heavy Woollen derby will be “massive for both teams” as they look to secure their Championship status.
With four games to go the Bulldogs are six points above the relegation zone while Dewsbury are five from the drop, meaning a win for either could guarantee survival.
Batley have won both derby meetings so far this year and have won the last five at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, in a run stretching back to 2015.
However, Diskin expects an improving Rams outfit to provide a tough test for his team this time around.
“This week is massive for both teams. It’s going to be just as big for Dewsbury as well, they know the importance of it,” he said.
“We’ve had some fantastic wins over them this year (but) they’re riding a bit of momentum. They’ve had some very good results and they were unlucky (last week against Featherstone, losing 25-24), so they’ll be coming to Mount Pleasant full of confidence.
“It always takes time for a new coach to put his marker on a team. I know Lee (Greenwood) has plenty of changes of personnel coming in and out.
“He’s a quality young coach and I wish him all the best. He’s slowly getting his mark put on the team – I just don’t wish him too much luck this week!”
The Bulldogs picked up their first win in eight matches last weekend with a 50-26 success at bottom-placed side Rochdale, and Diskin says the squad are relieved to have the “monkey off our back” following that poor run of form.
“It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t our best performance of the year but it was a vital one, and one we needed for morale particularly,” he said.
It was the first time they had scored more than 30 points in a Championship game all season, and the coach was pleased with that attacking display if not the defensive one.
“We scored some really structured, well-executed tries, and I thought we did alright in that department.
“Defensively we were a little bit off it. They got to edges, they offloaded, and fair play to Rochdale for playing really good rugby. Defensively we’ll need to improve (as) we weren’t at our best but I’m not going to make too much of an effort to find the negatives because we’ve got a win and that’s the most important thing.”
Dave Scott was dropped for the first time this season as a warning to out-of-form Bulldogs players, with Louis Jouffret taking his full-back role.
“There are some players that have been struggling a bit with form and Dave is one of them,” said Diskin. “Dave’s a real quality player and I’m sure he’ll be working hard to get back in the team.”
Johnny Campbell missed the clash through injury, but the Batley boss hopes to have the winger available again before the end of the season.