IN-FORM Batley Bulldogs are looking forward to their first derby game of the season tonight as they take on Dewsbury Rams knowing a win would keep alive their hopes of finishing among the Championship’s elite.
Batley are unbeaten since round two of the season, when they narrowly lost away at Featherstone, and despite having played last year’s Championship top four Bulldogs boss John Kear believes that his side’s trip to the Tetley’s Stadium this evening (Friday) could be their toughest of the campaign.
“Glenn is a brilliant coach and I know him very well from my time at Wakefield,” said Kear.
“He was my captain and helped me with training back then so I always knew he would make a good coach.
“His sides are always difficult to play against so we will have to be on our game if we are to keep our current run of form going.
“I fully expect Glenn to go on to coach full-time in the future, I know he’s more than capable of that.
Kear’s praise for his Australian counterpart comes after both Batley and Dewsbury scraped through their fourth round Challenge Cup ties against Whitehaven and Bradford Bulls respectively.
“I was at the Dewsbury v Bradford game last week and it was brilliant to watch and I learned a lot from that, Dewsbury were excellent and thoroughly deserved the win in my opinion,” explained Kear.
Batley struggled against a resurgent Whitehaven side at Mount Pleasant and Kear admits defensively his side needs to improve. He said: “We conceded too many points and if it wasn’t for the introduction of James Davey and his brilliant performance before half-time then we would have lost the game to tell you the truth.
“We’ve suggested some solutions to improve us at the back and hopefully that will make us more solid.”
Kear was also dealt a blow when Chris Ulugia broke his hand in last weekend’s clash with Whitehaven.
The New Zealand centre is now facing six weeks on the sidelines along with fellow centre Shaun Squires, who is another long term absentee due to a knee ligament injury he picked up against Featherstone earlier in the season.
Elsewhere Batley Bulldogs have drawn Featherstone at home in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup and their recent form has earned them the chance to play in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The Mount Pleasant side will look to avenge the defeat they suffered at the Big Fellas Stadium which remains the Bulldogs’ only loss of the season.
The fixture gets underway on Saturday April 16 at 5pm.