JOHN KEAR says defeat at the hands of Featherstone this weekend will not affect the outcome of Batley’s 2013 campaign.
The Bulldogs are down following their disappointing Northern Rail Cup exit at the hands of Leigh last week, but the former England boss is adamant his side is not out of title contention.
The resurgent Rovers, hosting Kear’s men on Sunday at 3pm, are in fine form having racked up 100 points and conceded just six in their last two league outings.
And the Batley chief is wary of the threat their West Yorkshire rivals pose.
“Featherstone have had their mid-season blip, which we seem to be enduring right now, and they have come out the other side,” Kear told The Press.
“I viewed their game against Workington. Featherstone were faultless and their opponents did not get as much as a look through the glass.
“Sunday is very important, granted, but it is not a crucial game.
“If we win, we don’t win the grand final, if we lose, we don’t lose it.
“There is still a long way to go, but I do expect a reaction from the players.
“I have had to do pick them up this week, there is no doubting that.
“The cup defeat certainly hurt them as the players feel as though they didn’t do themselves justice.
“Matters must be put into perspective, though, we went further than both Featherstone and Halifax.
“The players are upset, the loss was hugely disappointing, but we must move on from it and focus our attention back on the league campaign.”
Loose forward Ash Lindsay is set to miss Batley’s trip to the Big Fellas Stadium, nursing an injury which Kear has expressed his anger over.
The ex-Super League head coach says a “poor” challenge during last Thursday’s cup clash was to blame, forcing Lindsay to sit out the Championship’s top-four encounter.
“I was extremely disappointed with what was a poor challenge on Ash,” he added.
“It was very unpleasant and I am not happy with the player responsible.
“We will give him as long as possible for Sunday, but it is highly unlikely that he will play.”
Meanwhile, centre Ayden Faal could also be set for a spell on the sidelines.
Faal, who signed from neighbours Dewsbury at the end of last season, is struggling with an ongoing knee problem.
And Kear is awaiting results of a scan, which could mean surgery for the 26-year-old.
“Ayden has been struggling with his knee for a while, it is a niggling injury which is preventing him from playing to the best of his potential,” claimed Kear.
“We are just waiting for news on the matter at the minute, we could lose him for a while if scans show excessive damage.”