Kear desperate for Swinton points

INJURIES continue to mount for Batley Bulldogs ahead of their Championship clash with Swinton Lions on Sunday.

Mark Applegarth is likely to miss the fixture after suffering a recurrence of a calf injury which had previously ruled him out.

The loose forward had only just made his return after missing several weeks with the calf strain, but now faces scans to determine the full extent of his injury.

He could potentially face a lengthy spell on the sidelines alongside Alistair Leak, who has been ruled out for the season after damaging the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Coach John Kear also revealed that Lee Paterson was carrying a knock during Sunday’s game with the Eagles and therefore was unable to kick goals.

Winger Alex Brown, on loan from Leigh, suffered a painful injury after getting a scratch on his eye when his contact lense was split.

Kear said: “We will have to take a look at the players during training before we know who is ruled out.

“Miles Greenwood pulled out ill on the day of the game and Lee Paterson stepped in well, as did Alex Bretherton at centre.

“Miles has been training all week so he will be playing again at Swinton.

“I thought we were the better team against Sheffield and we produced a really good 80 minutes of rugby.

“But with Swinton it is less about the performance and more about the result.

“We realise the urgency of the situation and the value of three points at this stage.

“We certainly have the team capable of winning there, but as Dewsbury found out, if you don’t have the correct attitude you get beaten there.”

Although Kear admits that this is a good opportunity to break their losing run, he also conceded that the Swinton team are an unknown entity.

“Swinton change their team quite a lot because the Super League club dictates their dual-registration deal,” he added.

“They have Richie Hawkyard at full-back, Darren Hawkyard in the second-row and Ian Watson at scrum-half who are all capable players.”

Meanwhile former Batley Bulldogs favourite Keegan Hirst has agreed a deal to return to the club on a one-month loan deal and made his return to the squad last Sunday.

Hirst left for Championship rivals Featherstone Rovers last season, after losing out in the 2013 Grand Final.

The return of Keegan has also seen Brad Brennan go on a month-long loan to Championship One side York.

Kear said of the signing: “Keegan is one of us, it is the prodigal son returning, he knows us well and the systems we run so he should have no problem fitting in.

“I wouldn’t want to be bringing in someone who is an outsider at this stage, so he was perfect.

“Brad will be the first to admit he has not fulfilled his potential and he won’t get back in just by training. It was logical choice to send him out on loan especially with Keegan Hirst coming in.”

Batley Bulldogs Supporters Club will be running a bus to Swinton on Sunday. It will leave Branch Road at 1pm, picking up at the Tapp Rooms, the Commercial and in Birstall.

It is priced at £10 for adults and £5 for kids,  contact Dave King on 07428 107632 after 4pm or Station Coaches on 01924 477230.

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