Back to the Bulldogs: Tom Lillycrop on the ball for Cleckheaton
Photo: Gerald Christian
BATLEY’S squad looks set to be boosted by a familiar face, with Tom Lillycrop returning to training with the club.
The prop, who has made 98 appearances for the Bulldogs over the past five years, decided not to continue for the 2020 season due to work commitments.
However, a lightening of that workload and a change in training schedule have presented the opportunity for him to return after a successful spell in rugby union with Cleckheaton. He was expected to have his first session back at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium last night (Thursday).
“He’s got quite a demanding job and it was taking up quite a lot of his time last year,” explained Batley coach Craig Lingard.
“That’s settled down a little bit and our training times have changed as well from last year; we’re training on a Saturday morning which helps him as well as it’s only affecting his work two times a week instead of three.
“He’s spent a bit of time playing union at Cleckheaton and he now wants to get back into league so he’ll be back with us. He said he wants a good four or five weeks of training to get himself back into rugby league-playing condition so we’ll be keen to get him back in.
“He’s a fit guy anyway. He’s been doing his own unofficial pre-season at the gym so he’s been getting himself into as good a shape as he can and he looks in good condition. He’s always been a fit guy so I don’t think it’ll take him long to get back to the standards required in the Championship.
“I’ve watched a couple of his games (at Cleckheaton) and he’s gone well down there. It’s a different game with different strengths and attributes that you need but I think he’s taken to it quite well.”
Lingard also remains hopeful of adding to his squad before the Championship season kicks off with the potential for some players to come available from Super League clubs today (Friday).
“Anybody who’s not in those squads aren’t going to be playing first-team rugby at their parent clubs so there might be a few people who are available,” he said.
“I’ll be keeping a close eye on the final squads that the Super League teams submit. There are certainly some targets we have in mind that we don’t think will be in the final Super League squads.”