BATLEY coach Matt Diskin says that the Bulldogs will be prioritising their 1895 Cup clash with York ahead of a packed schedule over the coming week.
His side will be in action three times in the next nine days, starting with a trip to Widnes tonight (Friday, kick-off 8pm).
Before their next Championship fixture, at home to league leaders Toronto the following weekend, Batley go to York on Wednesday night (June 26) in the quarter-finals of the new knockout competition.
With the Bulldogs two wins away from a first appearance at Wembley Stadium in their history, Diskin says that the midweek fixture is their main focus.
“We’ve got a tough few weeks with Widnes away, York in the cup and then Toronto. If I’m totally honest, York is the one that is going to be the most important for us there,” he said.
“We’re coming up against two full-time teams, it’s going to be a very tough task. It’s one that we’ll enjoy and we’ll look to cause upsets, but York is the one where, for us this year, if we want to get some success and silverware, it’s going to come in that 1895 Cup.
“At Widnes we’ll give some people game time who need it, and those who probably deserve it (compared) to the people who are in there at the moment.
“So there will be a few changes for that, but we are looking to gear up for the York game.”
Diskin says he is in touch with Huddersfield, the club’s dual-registration partners, to bring more players into his squad following a scathing criticism of his side’s display in the heavy defeat to Sheffield last weekend.
Batley have already confirmed the arrival of 17-year-old Jack Broadbent from Leeds on a month’s loan deal.
The outside-back has impressed for the Rhinos’ under-19s this season, as well as making three appearances for Featherstone on dual-registration.
Diskin is looking forward to seeing what the local lad, who played junior rugby for Batley Boys and Dewsbury Moor, can bring to the team.
“We shouldn’t set expectations too high as he is only young (but) he’s very talented,” said the Bulldogs boss.
“He’s very highly-thought of at Leeds. He’s from the local area, he’s very elusive, runs good lines with the ball, and I think he’ll be very good for us.”
Batley expect to have a number of players back in contention for tonight’s clash, with Wayne Reittie, Tom Lillycrop, Danny Yates, Tyler Dickinson and Niall Walker all pushing to make returns.
Diskin vowed to make “wholesale changes” after witnessing the destruction of his side by Sheffield last week, in a performance which he described as “absolutely embarrassing”.
“In my tenure, that’s the most embarrassing performance we’ve had,” he said after the 54-24 loss.
“Some of those (players) in there need to take a long, hard look at themselves because they’re not playing for each other and they’re not playing for the shirt on their back.
“The 54 scoreline isn’t anything technical or structural, it’s what is between the ears. The players at the moment are not mentally tough enough to carry out a plan, they’re not mentally tough enough to work hard for each other, and they’re not mentally tough enough to stay in games long enough to get a result.”