Bulldogs fresh for derby clash

BATLEY BULLDOGS go into this weekend’s Summer Bash having had a quiet week on the training field.

John Kear’s men have only trained twice but the experienced coach is confident his side will be in good shape for their match with Heavy Woollen rivals Dewsbury on Sunday (12.30pm).

Following a post Easter blip in the Championship which saw them lose four games on the bounce, the Bulldogs have recovered to win their last two games against Halifax and Workington and look to make it a hat-trick against their fierce rivals in Blackpool.

“Logistically after the long trip to Workington it made sense to rest the guys and only train twice this week,” said Kear.

“Some players were feeling a bit fatigued and I want them to feel fresh at the weekend.

“The Summer Bash only comes round once a year and it’s a big occasion so it’s important we perform well.

“The Super League was centre of attention last week with the Magic Weekend and now it’s the Championship’s turn, but we must remain focused on the job at hand.”

Batley appear to have rediscovered their early season form which saw them win three of their four opening fixtures.

Kear has brought in key players who have hit the ground running, including Callum Casey and Greg Minikin to cover for injuries which affected the Bulldogs’ consistency since their win over Dewsbury at the Tetley’s Stadium back in March.

Frankie Mariano, 29, is the latest recruit on dual registration from Castleford and despite being ‘ring rusty’, following a long lay-off due to knee reconstruction surgery, will be ‘a top performer’ for Batley in the coming weeks according to Kear, who spoke after the forward made his debut in Cumbria last weekend.

Dewsbury on the other hand have been inconsistent at best but Kear still expects a tough test. He added: “Playing Dewsbury is always a tough game and they always put in a tremendous amount of effort.

“Last season they performed really well but this year it’s not quite happened for them.”

James Brown, Pat Walker and Minikin are all expected to feature in Blackpool, having caught Kear’s eye last weekend, but the injury-prone Alex Rowe may be given a rest while shoulder surgery on Wednesday has ended Sean Hesketh’s season early.

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