INJURYHIT Batley Bulldogs have been boosted by the arrival of 23yearold James Grehan ahead of Sunday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup crunch fifthround clash with London Broncos (kickoff 2pm).
Australianborn utility Grehan, who has made four appearances in rugby league’s top flight this season, has arrived from Castleford Tigers on a onemonth loan deal which can be extended.
Head coach John Kear insisted, upon taking the helm at Mount Pleasant, loan signings would not be likely.
However since then, 10 of his 28man squad have become unavailable through injury and the club have this week been dealt a further blow with news that centre Chris Buttery requires further knee ligament treatment, which is likely to keep him out of action until the end of the season.
“If we see Chris back before the end of the season, we’ll be very lucky,” claimed Kear.
“His knee is much worse than first thought, he requires several months worth treatment and he sure will be a huge loss because he’s a very good player.”
Johnny Walker suffered a clash of heads during Batley’s victory over York last weekend, becoming the third secondrower to be ruled out, along with Adam Scott (cheekbone) and Ash Lindsay (hand).
Johnny Campbell (leg), Danny Mills (foot) and Mark Toohey (back) have “little or no chance” of featuring in this weekend’s cup tie, however, Paul Mennell (knee) and Walker are being closely monitored and remain in contention.
“I’m not one for signing players on dualregistration terms but I’m partial to a loan deal here and there and that’s what we’ve had to do. Injuries are mounting up and after the York game, following Johnny Walker’s head injury, I was left with one fit secondrow forward out of four.
“James is a highlyexperienced player who has played the game across the globe.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people about James and they all sang his praises. Castleford are out of the Challenge Cup and he hasn’t featured, which means he isn’t cuptied – he’s available.”
In London, Kear’s men face without question their toughest test to date but for the man who has experienced so many memorable days in this competition, defeating Super League’s 13thplaced side, at home, remains an attainable objective.
The Broncos will include a lot of talent and all eyes are likely to be on former dualcode international Craig Gower.
“People shouldn’t start getting carried away about Sunday because London boast an impressive squad, packed full of international experience,” added Kear.
“However, London’s confidence is very low and their form has been patchy to say the least.
“The weather is set to be poor, the pitch will therefore be heavy and no side, Championship or Super League, likes coming to Mount Pleasant.
“Defence will be massive but we know where their weaknesses lie.
“I think the club have done a tremendous job of promoting the tie and I just hope we get a good crowd behind us because that will add to London’s problems.”
Batley are offering two ticket deals in order to pack out their famous home as they bid to make it into the last eight of the sport’s most prestigious competition.
Any season ticket holder of any club can attend the tie and the Bulldogs will donate £2 to their supported team.
The second is an earlybird ticket offer which invites fans to arrive before 1pm and enjoy a reduced admission price.
Normal admissions prices are £15 for adults, £9 for concessions and £3 for children.
The earlybird rates see those prices fall to £10 for adults, £5 for concession and £1 for children.