BATLEY coach Craig Lingard will rotate his squad for tonight’s (Friday, kick-off 8pm) Challenge Cup tie away at Leigh Centurions.
The Bulldogs earned their first win of the season at the third time of asking last weekend, seeing off Swinton 20-10 thanks to an impressive first-half performance.
Attention this week has switched to the cup and a fourth-round tie against the early Championship leaders, and some of the players who are yet to feature in the league will have the chance to impress.
Joe Taira will return from an elbow injury to make his first competitive appearance of the season, while fellow front-rower Tyler Dickinson is pushing to make his own injury return.
Dave Scott has only played once so far and will feature, as will young half-back or second-row George Senior, who has two first-team appearances to his name so far from the end of last season.
“We’ll rotate a few players,” said Lingard. “There are some guys who are waiting to come back in.
“After a game like (against Swinton), five days is a short turnaround, and we want to try and keep people fresh as much as we can. The important game for us is Sheffield the week after so playing on the Friday gives us an extra couple of days to prepare.”
Batley’s chances of success against a Leigh side who have started the season in superb form appear to be slim but Lingard insists there is always a chance.
“It’s 17 players, two arms and two legs,” he said. “They’re in the same division as us. Yes, budget-wise it’s different and that’s what we’ve got to contend with, but we can’t change that fact.
“Realistically we’re not going to win the Challenge Cup so we’ll see how far we can get. If we don’t get past Leigh it’s a good pay day for the club, but we will be going out there intending to win. We know it’s going to be difficult but we’ll play without any pressure on us.”