Lingard excited by capture of ‘X-factor’ Dean

Lingard excited by capture of ‘X-factor’ Dean

BATLEY BULLDOGS coach Craig Lingard believes that Reece Dean can bring an “X-factor” to the club after signing for the 2020 season.

Dean, 22, this week became the sixth new addition to the Bulldogs’ squad by moving from League One side Hunslet.

The half-back came through the Hull FC academy and had spells at Toronto Wolfpack, Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles before signing for Hunslet, and also had a short loan spell at Dewsbury in 2019 without playing a game.

Lingard believes that if he can get Dean playing to his best, Batley will have a good player on their hands.

“For one reason or another he’s not quite kicked on. I don’t know why because the ability that he’s got is phenomenal,” said the Bulldogs boss.

“He’s got some skill, he’s got some pace, he’s got some vision as well, so we’re looking at him as a half-back. If we can get him knuckled down and concentrating on his rugby and getting him enjoying his rugby, he could be a real bonus for us.

“He’s got an X-factor about him. He does things off the cuff which can ruffle a few feathers of certain coaches when they don’t stick to the game plan, but as a half-back you’ve got to be given that freedom to make your own decisions and I think Reece is one of those that will flourish if you give him a little bit of freedom to play.”

Dean’s signature takes Batley up to 21 players confirmed for next season, with the club hoping to have the signing of another forward complete this week.

Lingard says that the Bulldogs will also be joined in pre-season by three players on trial at the club, including former Dewsbury prop Nyle Flynn.

The 22-year-old made five appearances for the Rams after joining in the later stages of the 2019 campaign, but failed to earn a new deal with the club.

“He can have a look at us, we can have a look at him and he might be able to fill one of the positions that we’re probably a little bit short in,” said Lingard.

The coach added: “There are a couple of lads who took time away from the semi-pro game because of work commitments so they’ll do pre-season with us.

“You never know, out of the three that come, we might pick up an additional player that is a bonus for us.”

The Bulldogs squad will have their first get-together next week ahead of the start of pre-season training in the second week of November.

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