BATLEY Bulldogs head coach Matt Diskin is keen to improve on what he describes as an “average” start to his Batley tenure - beginning with victory away to Halifax RLFC on Sunday evening (6pm).
Batley currently sit sixth in the Kingstone Press Championship and four points behind London Broncos and Halifax, who occupy fourth and fifth respectively.
Despite Batley sitting comfortably in mid-table Diskin feels that there is still plenty of room for improvement from his team, who have lost six of their 11 league games in 2017.
“It has been an average first half of the season, I don’t think we have hit any form or found any consistency in our performances so far,” said Diskin.
“We are taking games one at time, our players are not feeling very confident at the moment because of the form we have been in over the last three games.
“There are positives and if the players can concentrate on the positives and deliver on a regular basis we will start to pick up the points and pick up some form.
“I believe we have the capability to be sitting higher up the league table but we have been ill-disciplined and made too many errors that have cost us games and that is why we aren’t a few places higher.
“We are still in a decent position, if we can put a good second half of the season together and find some consistency then we will be in the mix for the top four come the end of the year.”
Batley won the reverse fixture against Halifax 24-6 in round two of the season, in what was Diskin’s first competitive win as head coach.
Despite the comfortable win last time out, Diskin is not expecting Batley to have it all their own way on Sunday and is very wary of the threat that Halifax can pose.
He said: “It is going to be a very tough game, ever since our victory against them earlier in the season they have hit some form and put some really good performances together and sit in a great position.
“They have some really experienced players, particularly in Scott Murrell at half-back so we are certainly expecting a battle, it is always tough against the teams fighting for that top four.
“We need to pick up the points this weekend if we want to give ourselves a good chance of being in the top four.
“It doesn’t just revolve around Sunday’s game, we have got 12 games to improve which is something we need to do drastically.”
Batley lost their third game on the bounce as they were defeated 23-22 by Dewsbury Rams in the Challenge Cup last Sunday. Diskin was disappointed to lose the game by a single point, especially after his side had at one stage lead 16-4.
He added: “It was heartbreaking, the players worked really hard to try and get a positive outcome but unfortunately they came up short.
“The most disappointing factor is that I don’t think we should’ve lost the game after being in a real dominant position in the first half.
“We are doing some really good things but they are being overshadowed by poor discipline, stupid errors and one-on-one tackle misses and if you keep making errors in games you are going to find yourself coming up short and that has been proven in the last three games.”
Batley will be without some key players for Sunday’s game, with Patch Walker and Shaun Ainscough both doubtful due to broken bones in the wrist.
Wayne Reittie has been ruled out with a hamstring injury and Will Maher is unavailable after a knock to the sternum, however Danny Cowling may be ready for selection if he is able to recover from a broken rib by Sunday.