BATLEY Bulldogs chief executive Paul Harrison has said that there is “no pressure” on head coach Matt Diskin to achieve a top four finish this season.
Batley had a surprising finish in the top four of the Championship last year, allowing them to play against the likes of Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants in the Super 8s under John Kear.
For many the Bulldogs’ season was viewed as an overachievement, but the early form this year has indicated that Batley could be challenging for the top four places once again.
They travel to Bradford Bulls this Sunday (3pm), where a win would see them secure their third consecutive victory and depending on other results could see them move into the top four.
“There is definitely no pressure on Matt to get into the top four, we just want the team to do as best as they possibly can in what is a difficult competition this year,” said Harrison.
“We are very pleased with Matt and the rest of the coaching staff, we have been beaten twice this year but by two very good teams.
“We are exactly where we thought we would be at this stage and we are delighted with the start that we have had and ideally we would like a top six finish, which in itself would be another great achievement.”
Diskin spent last season at Bradford as their assistant coach.
However Harrison believes that despite Diskin’s inside knowledge the game will still prove a difficult contest.
He said: “It is a massive game, they beat us by a couple of points in the same fixture last season, they have had their issues off the field which have been well publicised.
“Matt was there last year and will know a lot of the young players that will have come into the team, but we are still expecting another tough game on Sunday.”
Batley earned their second consecutive win last weekend as they scored a try three minutes from time to snatch a dramatic win against Swinton Lions, and Harrison is happy with how the team is adapting to Diskin’s style of play.
He said: “The team stuck to the game plan very well, Matt has a couple of new systems that he has introduced and the players executed them to the letter against a good Swinton side.
“The players are adjusting well to the new style of play. The conditions have made it hard to play free flowing rugby (but) when the ground dries up I’m sure we will kick on even more. We will hope for more of the same on Sunday which will add to the really nice feel that is around the club at the moment.”
Sunday’s game also marked winger Wayne Reittie’s 100th appearance for the club where he was presented with a commemorative shirt by former Batley winger John McGowan.
Reittie has scored 50 tries for Batley in his 100 games and received great praise from his head coach after Sunday’s win.
Diskin said: “One hundred appearances for any club is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates the crucial contribution Wayne makes to our group.”
James Davey is the Bulldogs’ only injury worry ahead of the Bradford game, with the rest of the squad only carrying a few minor knocks.