BATLEY BULLDOGS boss Craig Lingard has revealed it’s “unlikely” the club will establish a dual-registration partnership with Hull FC, despite believing a deal was sorted.
Lingard and Bulldogs chief executive Paul Harrison recently met Black and Whites counterparts Lee Radford and James Clark and tabled an offer to partner with the Super League outfit.
And whilst they thought the deal was “done and dusted” before Christmas, Hull are now reportedly set to partner with another Championship club – believed to be Bradford Bulls.
Lingard said: “There’s not an official update but it’s looking unlikely at this moment in time. I think they’re siding towards going with another team which is disappointing.
“We thought that the deal was already done and dusted and agreed but unfortunately there’s been a change of direction.
“Although we’ve not got an official answer as yet, the feeling that we’re getting is that they won’t be going with us they’ll be going with another Championship club.
“We thought as a club that was all agreed before Christmas so it does impact a bit on your recruitment and how heavily you work to that.
“If you’ve got dual-registration to call up on then there’s no massive necessity to go out and continue looking for a vast amount of people.
“With the likelihood of that not being there now it means that we’ll have to go out and have a real good look at what’s out there and see what’s available.
“If the dual-reg doesn’t come off with Hull there’s potential that we could look at a couple of their players to come on loan which might help us out in certain key positions. But there’s no firm decisions on that either way as yet.”
The decision puts Batley in a vulnerable position on the eve of the 2020 season with only around 24 players signed on and several injuries to key players.
Half-back Ben White is currently out with a broken finger, leaving just one out-and-out half in Danny Yates available.
White joins Lewis Galbraith (ankle) on the treatment table, meaning Keenen Tomlinson is the only centre fit.
And the Bulldogs have just two hookers in the squad; Shaun Lunt and Alistair Leak.
But Lingard says another signing is imminent in the shape of a loose-forward that can also play in the halves.
He said: “We’ve had a little look (at players), we’re hoping to get a signing tied down this week at some point.
“That’s just about agreed minus the signature on the paperwork, but until that signature is on the paper we can’t really consider him as our player. I’ve been like that before where it’s not happened.
“We’re fairly confident that we should get another body in this week.
“We’re waiting for this decision regarding the dual-reg and if the decision doesn’t go in our favour we’re also then waiting for the decision on whether they’re going to look at loaning a couple of players for the season to cover a couple of positions where we’re short.”
It means Lingard will name a mixed squad for Sunday’s pre-season trip to Hunslet (kick-off 2pm). New signing Luke Hooley will move from full-back into the halves, while Niall Walker will come into the side alongside Joe Taira.
Mikey Ward, who picked up an injury in Batley’s Boxing Day draw with Dewsbury, looks set to play if he can recover from a flu bug.
Dewsbury Celtic prospect George Senior could also feature, as will a number of trialists at the club.