Bright future in store at Mount?

BATLEY CHAIRMAN Kevin Nicholas believes his side’s ‘tremendous’ season so far is just reward for the effort the club has put in throughout the last eight months.

After a disappointing 2015 campaign Nicholas promised fans the club would aim higher – and the Batley chief put money where his mouth is during the off-season, signing experienced players such as Dom Brambani and Pat Walker.

Big signings and a new training regime focusing on strength and conditioning, put in place by head coach John Kear, helped Batley climb to the summit of the Championship before a post-Easter blip of four straight defeats.

Nevertheless they are now third after their second Heavy Woollen derby win of the season with their sights firmly set on a spot in the top four going into the Super 8s.

“We’re the team to catch and it puts us in a commanding position,” said Nicholas.

“It would be a terrific achievement to pull it off but the players and coaching staff know there is a lot of hard work still to do and they can’t afford to take their foot of the gas.”

A top four place in the Championship would also bring financial benefits to Batley who, as a part-time club, would appreciate the extra income.

And with Matt Diskin taking the reins at Mount Pleasant at the end of the current season it would provide him with a healthier transfer budget.

“Matt has already outlined some targets for the off-season and it was that kind of focus and determination that earned him the job ahead of other top candidates,” added Nicholas.

“We’ve already signed some contract extensions because we would like to hold onto the strong squad that we already have in order to push on next season and hopefully do even better.

“Matt wants us to set the bar high, he is very determined to take the club forward.”

Batley host strugglers Oldham on Sunday, but Kear’s men know exactly how dangerous the newly-promoted side can be having lost to the Roughyeds at Bower Fold 28-12 back in April.

Nicholas said: “It’s been a goal of the players all season to beat every team in the league at least once and so far they’ve done okay.

“They will definitely be wanting revenge against Oldham and a win would keep us on track to achieve something special.”

On the injury front Batley don’t have too many concerns. Sean Hesketh will be out following shoulder surgery and Shaun Ainscough is missing with an ankle problem, but Alex Brown is set to return to the side on the wing.

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