MOUNT PLEASANT chief John Kear has revealed how he requires only a trio of new signings to complete his squad for 2014.
The Batley Bulldogs head coach this week completed the re-signing of back-rower John Davies, but the former England boss admits he is still in need of a “pivot, a strike centre and a powerful prop”.
Davies has put pen to paper on a new one-year deal, following in the footsteps of teammates Byron Smith, Ben Black, Mark Applegarth, Alex Bretherton, Miles Greenwood, Johnny Campbell and Alex Rowe.
And it is understood Kear has already secured the services of a host of new signings, including Keighley’s Scott Leatherbarrow.
But with veteran Danny Maun set to retire at the end of the season and with front-rower Keegan Hirst, scrum-half Gareth Moore and hooker George Flanangan all expected to join Featherstone Rovers next term, Kear has been left with several holes to fill.
“We know exactly who is leaving the club and, likewise, we know exactly who will be staying put for another year,” Kear told The Press.
“I am very pleased with the work we have done in terms of recruitment and there are still a number of re-signings to be announced.
“But I still want another three players. A pivot, a strike centre and a powerful prop are high on my shopping list at the moment.”
However, Kear has spoken of how the Bulldogs have been “blown out of the water” by some of their rivals’ spending power.
The two-time Challenge Cup winning coach claims a variety of clubs, currently placed outside the play-off positions, are planning to mix it with the competition’s leading lights next term.
Talk of six and five-figure sums available to those who finish in the top four next season has certainly aroused second-tier clubs.
And it is becoming clear that some are preparing to put everything on the line for a potential Super League future, as part of the sport’s planned restructuring.
Kear, though, has paid tribute to Batley’s board of directors for continuing to protect the club’s long-term future.
“Investment in playing squads has to be realistic in my opinion,” claimed the ex-Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats chief.
“There was one instance recently where we went in for a centre and found ourselves blown out of the water by a team placed four or five positions below us.
“I have no idea how these sorts of clubs, who aren’t attracting huge crowds, are going to pay the wages being offered out.
“I praise the chairman (Kevin Nicholas) and his fellow directors for not allowing that to happen here – for the good of Batley Bulldogs.
“We have a budget in place and it is my job to get the very best out of what is available to me, which I believe is and has been done.”
Meanwhile, Johnny Campbell was in-line to feature in last night’s crunch visit of Leigh Centurions after shaking off a dead leg.
Centre Maun, though, was ruled out with a hamstring problem.
By Ryan Sparks