Batley boss says captain Smith has been handed senior role

HEAD COACH John Kear has backed newlynamed captain Byron Smith to lead Batley to victory on Sunday in his side’s Northern Rail Cup tie with Keighley Cougars (2pm).
Smith, 27, was named team captain last week as Kear moved to appoint two coskippers in Danny Maun and Kris Lythe.
Front–rower Smith, who arrived at Mount Pleasant in 2008 from Rochdale Hornets, will make up one third of a ‘leadership group’, alongside longserving Batley stars Maun and Lythe.
And Kear insists the trio will be regularly consulted in order to have their say on training and team matters.
“The captaincy role is not just about tossing a coin and saying ‘we’ll kick off’, it’s a much more senior role in my opinion,” said Kear.
“I felt it was important to appoint two cocaptains to go alongside Byron and I’m very happy with my choices I’ve made.
“I have named those three as captains following my association with them during training over the past few months.
“Byron has the most senior position out of the three but he won’t be on the field for 80 minutes.
“All three of them will have an equal role in the way things work.
“I will be consulting them, along with my coaching staff, about training , matches and where we want to go with things on week by week.
“One of the main reasons I picked those guys was because of what I saw in the Wakefield game, and the fact that they have here for some time now.
“The good old Batley spirit is back and it’s important to keep that going throughout the the season.”
In what will be Kear’s first competitive game in charge, Batley have been boosted by the return of Chris Buttery from injury but will be without Gareth Frodsham (ribs) and fullback Ian Preece (hamstring).
Despite having already defeated Keighley in 2012, Kear says his side will have to perform at a whole new level in order to attain victory this time around.
He added: “I’ll be taking nothing from the friendly against Keighley. It was trial game and it served its purpose.
“Sunday’s clash will be a completely different matter all together.
“They have some of their former Super League players like Semi Tadulala, Paul March and Richie Barnett to come back and there is one or two of our guys who didn’t feature in the friendly, but will definitely be playing this time around.
“I expect a very tough test. Keighley are at home and they will want to win just as much as we do.
“In order to get the win, we have to maintain our progression on the pitch.
“I thought we were very good against Wakefield but if we want to get off to a winning start, we have to produce that again.
“We are pretty much where we wanted to be at, in terms of our preparation, but I expect even more from the players on Sunday as it is a competetive fixture.
“I want to see a competitive standard of rugby from my side.
“Everything we have worked towards will be on show and we know it’s important to start well in this competition.”

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