Batley boss plays down dream Super League return

BATLEY BULLDOGS head coach John Kear is remaining tight-lipped over his future at Mount Pleasant.

The former England boss is being heavily linked with a move back to Super League with home-town club Castleford Tigers, following the sacking of Ian Millward on Tuesday.

Kear, who arrived to replace Karl Harrison at the Batley helm prior to the start of last season, has previously described the Castleford post as a “dream”.

But yesterday (Thursday), the two-time Challenge Cup-winning coach claimed his focus was on Sunday’s visit of Whitehaven (kick-off 2pm).

“I don’t want to speculate on what the future might hold at this stage,” said Kear.

“My name is always going to be mentioned when the Castleford job becomes available, it has in the past, but I am concentrating on the task at hand.

“I am here and we have a number of important games coming up over the next few weeks or so.”

Castleford are understood to have shown an interest in Kear’s services, though the club are adamant that no official approach has been made.

Chief executive Paul Harrison said: “Of course, we want John to stay here. Everything is going to plan – we are in the mix this year.

“But there are no worries at this stage, we have heard nothing from Castleford – they have not approached us whatsoever.”

Kear’s second-placed Bulldogs will be without hooker George Flanagan as they return to Kingstone Press Championship action this weekend.

The 25-year-old sustained an ankle injury during his side’s 72-0 Tetley’s Challenge Cup demolition of Gateshead Thunder, which has prevented him from training this week.

Batley will play host to Super League partners Huddersfield Giants later this month in round four of the competition, with coach Kear describing the draw as “perfect”.

He said: “There is some irony to the draw, there is little doubt about that, but it’s perfect. I know a fair bit about the Huddersfield squad, I’ve

previously coached the likes of Danny Brough, Luke George, Scott Grix and Aaron Murphy.

“And there will probably be players playing for us this weekend that will play against us in the cup tie.

“But there’s little to be negative about from my point of view.

We get to play a top Super League side, hopefully we will get a 3,000-plus crowd which will boost the coffers, and they will provide us with perfect preparation for the tough games that follow against Leigh and Featherstone.

“It’s going to be a hard ask, but Huddersfield realise we are a threat and they will treat us with full respect. We will be going all out for a place in the next round.”

The tie will take place on Sunday April 21 and will get underway at 2pm.

Kear, meanwhile, has revealed how he will field “one or two” dual-registered Giants on Sunday, enabling him to finally rest key individuals following a busy Easter campaign.

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