FOLLOWING an impressive victory over Halifax in the Championship, Batley Bulldogs’ start to the 2016 season just keeps getting better.
But this weekend will see John Kear’s men face a different test in the form of Workington Town at Mount Pleasant.
And for the first time in this year’s Championship, campaign the Bulldogs will be favourites.
“I’m delighted with the effort of my players this season, they’ve been excellent, but what pleases me even more is that we have improved game-on-game so far and that’s because of their commitment in training,” said Kear.
“I was particularly impressed with our kick-chase against Halifax.
“But this form stems from pre-season when we changed so much more than just personnel.
“We did much less work on strength this time around and instead worked on power and explosive training.
“Because of that we are a lot more agile and energetic in matches and it seems to be winning us games.”
“And for the condition of the players I can’t take all the credit, John Heaton is the main man responsible for getting the guys in such peak fitness.”
But on top of improved fitness levels Kear believes his side’s good start to the campaign is a result of strong competition for places.
“James Davey has been left very frustrated since picking up a hamstring injury this season because the likes of Luke Blake and Alistair Leak have performed so well that he’s not had a chance to get back into the team yet,” added Kear.
“But there will be a time when James gets his chance and he’ll have to make sure he claims his spot back by putting in solid performances.”
“It’s a great position to be in though and with so many players performing well they are all spurring each other on.”
Kear does have a number of injuries to consider ahead of this weekend’s clash with Workington, however.
Joe Chandler is a doubt after suffering concussion against Halifax. The prop forward has trained this week having passed RFL concussion guidelines, but the 26-year-old will now have to pass a late fitness test before a decision is made on whether he can play.
Chris Ulugia is also a doubt after he picked up a knock to his ankle which has left him with severe swelling.
• Batley Bulldogs will face Whitehaven in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup on the weekend of March 19-20.