Batley Bulldogs have brought in Ireland international centre Elliot Cosgrove as they bid to move up the Championship table.
The former Dewsbury player was released from Hunslet earlier this week after struggling to feature regularly in coach Barry Eaton’s plans. He scored one try in three appearances for the Hawks this season.
Cosgrove’s acquisition will be useful, with John Kear’s team set to play three home games in the space of nine days, and the former Keighley man goes straight into the squad to play Sheffield Eagles tonight (Fri, 7.30pm).
The Bulldogs coach will be pleased with the new arrival after he confirmed full-back James Craven missed the game against Featherstone through injury, while Kear added he expected some of his long-term casualties to return soon.
“James has a heel problem and is unlikely to feature on Friday night,” he said.
“We are expecting Cain Southernwood and Johnny Campbell to be back for the Whitehaven game in two weeks’ time.
“But Ayden Faal has a back problem, which he picked up in the cup game at Widnes, and it shows no sign of healing, so we’ll have to send him to a consultant.”
With Craven missing for the clash against the Eagles Shaun Ainscough is likely to remain at full-back, while centre Shaun Squires misses out on the 19-man squad for Friday’s encounter against his former side.
After the game against third-placed Sheffield, Batley will come up against two full-time teams in the shape of London Broncos (Wed June 10) and top of the table Leigh Centurions (Sun June 14), and the Bulldogs’ chief said his side just need to get on with it.
“It’s going to be very tough, but that’s how it is. It’s pointless moaning about it, I think we just need to embrace the challenge,” Kear said.
“We are victims of our progression in the cup, and other teams in this position are catching up as well. We’ll give it our best efforts.
“Sheffield are a good side, you just have to look at where they are in the league and how they play on the field to know that.”
Kear said he was also looking for an improvement from his side after their 44-16 defeat at the hands of Featherstone Rovers last weekend.
“We didn’t turn up, we started brightly but we were well off the pace,” Kear added. “We let them play and took a foothold off the game.”
Despite being 34-0 down at half-time, Batley did manage to score more points than Rovers in the second half, but that didn’t satisfy Kear.
“We have to look at the game as a whole, and we didn’t show up in the first 40 minutes. We didn’t play and we have to analyse that and put it right, starting with Sheffield.”
Meanwhile a player that could be important to the Batley boss during the busy schedule is forward Alex Rowe, who has been named in Malta’s 35-man train-on squad for an international against Belgium at Headingley on June 21.
The match will be played as a curtain-raiser for the Leeds Rhinos Super league game with Hull FC, however if Rowe is selected, he could miss the Bulldogs’ important league fixture at Whitehaven.
• Batley have announced that prices for Wednesday night’s encounter against London Broncos have been reduced.
Adults and concessions will be able to watch the Kingstone Press Championship clash for £10 and kids £2, with the club donating half of the gate receipts to the Danny Jones fund.
There will also be buckets for donations on all bars, so fans can also give as they wish.
The Bulldogs players have already raised £500 to support Jones’ widow and two children.