AFTER a miserable Easter, and key players still missing, Batley’s injury problems have worsened in the run-up to this Sunday’s game against Featherstone at Mount Pleasant (3pm).
Luke Blake (pictured right) suffered a recurrence of an old shoulder injury in Monday’s defeat to London Broncos and has been ruled out.
Bulldogs coach John Kear confirmed he was looking to recruit a replacement, but said he was doubtful anything could be done for the weekend.
“We’ve tried to sign players, we thought we had two over the line, but unfortunately their clubs picked up injuries and suspensions over Easter,” Kear said.
“We’re always looking, but we don’t have limitless funding, this isn’t ‘Fantasy Manager’.”
Batley are already without full-back James Craven, Johnny Campbell and Ayden Faal.
Some better news for the Bulldogs emerged when Kear said scrum-half Scott Leatherbarrow could soon return to action.
“We’re sending Leatherbarrow to a specialist next Monday, and that’s just to get him signed off, so hopefully we can get him back for the cup game against Swinton,” he added.
In recent weeks Kear has had to play recognised hookers Anthony Nicholson and Alistair Leak alongside Cain Southernwood in the half-back positions.
Sunday’s opponents Featherstone, despite coming off the back of two losses, have had better luck with injuries and should have former Batley half-back Gareth Moore starting at the Mount.
The Rovers suffered two home defeats at the hands of London Broncos and Sheffield Eagles and Andy Hay’s side currently sit seventh in the table, just two points above Batley.
“Featherstone will be feeling worse than us after last weekend but they have high-quality players,” Kear said.
“They’ve got Reni Maitua, who played for Samoa at the World Cup, and he could be making his debut on Sunday.”
Other than Maitua, Featherstone brought in a host of players with Super League experience. Paul Sykes, Garreth Carvell and Paul Wood all joined the club in the off-season.
Batley boss Kear said he’s keen to see his side start games more positvely and added he may have to make further changes.
After the derby defeat on Good Friday, Kear rotated his team for the trip to London.
Brad Hey, Sam Scott, Adam Gledhill, Tom Thackray and Sean Hesketh – who scored two tries in the capital – all came in.
The Bulldogs coach admitted the display against the Broncos was more pleasing and the fresh faces had given him a selection dilemma.
“There were big changes for Monday’s game, and some of them played well, so that’s given me a headache,” Kear said.
“It’s disappointing to get beaten twice, I thought we were a lot better against London, but on Friday against Dewsbury we showed no composure or creativity. It was a dire performance.”