Batley duo pen contract extensions

BATLEY BULLDOGS duo Tom Lillycrop and Cain Southernwood have signed contract extensions, keeping them at Mount Pleasant until the end of 2018.

Prop forward Lillycrop and half-back Southernwood have boosted the Bulldogs’ future ambitions as the club aims to secure the strong 2016 squad for next season.

Lillycrop and Southernwood (pictured right) have featured nine times already in a campaign which has seen Batley climb to second in the Championship.

“They’re both very good players and it is great news for the club that they (Lillycrop and Southernwood) have committed their futures to the club,” said Kear.

“It is important for Batley to hold onto to as many players as they can because this year’s squad is very strong.

“I’m sure whoever my replacement is going to be will be delighted if a few more of the first team sign contract extensions in the coming week’s and months as well.”

Batley were handed more good news as they prepare to face third-placed London Broncos on Sunday (3pm) as half-back Shaun Squires is set to make a return to first team action, while counterpart Danny Cowling faces a late fitness test, but is also likely to feature for the Bulldogs this weekend.

“We’ve gradually been picking up more and more injuries throughout the season, particularly at half-back and it has affected us slightly, so to get Danny and Shaun back for what is set to be a tough game against London is a welcomed boost,” said Kear.

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that Danny can pass a late fitness test.”

Batley have highlighted areas for improvement following their surprise defeat away at Oldham and have been working hard to improve in time for their trip to London, where they will play on an artificial surface.

“We were second best in that game and Oldham just wanted the win more than us,” said Kear.

“I’ve heard people mention we looked a bit complacent, but there has been a lot of attention surrounding our good form in the media this year and the more the players read it the more they start to believe we can achieve big things.

“But we have to remain focused and remember it is a very competitive league this year.

“We’ve been working hard this week to make sure it was just a one off.”

Batley will be without Alex Rowe for the trip to Ealing after he underwent surgery on a thumb injury on Monday. The prop forward is facing six weeks on the sidelines.

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