BATLEY BULLDOGS head to Bradford this weekend with nothing to fear, according to head coach Matt Diskin.
The ‘Dogs are on a three-match winning run after following up league victories over Dewsbury and Halifax with a 38-18 win over Rochdale in the 1895 Cup last week.
They now face a West Yorkshire derby when they make the short trip to the Provident Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Bradford were only in action on Wednesday in their 1895 Cup loss at Barrow, but their top players will be fresh after the Bulls made 17 changes from their defeat to Halifax in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
The teams have already faced each other twice this season in Batley, with Bradford claiming a 14-12 win in the pre-season Yorkshire Cup final before securing a 16-6 triumph in March’s league fixture.
“The last couple of times we’ve played them, we’ve really underperformed,” said Diskin. “We made too many errors and were too indisciplined.
“Bradford are a team that don’t go away, they complete very high and if you have that much possession you’re going to score points.
“We’ve got to be squeaky clean with how we go about what we do, but we fancy our chances. We go there with nothing to fear; let’s have a go and see what happens.”
Batley go to Odsal without the services of Lewis Galbraith after the centre picked up a sprained ankle in the second half of the Rochdale win, which will see him out for up to five weeks and allow Sam Smeaton to return to the team.
The likes of Tyler Dickinson, Wayne Reittie and Tom Lillycrop are not expected to be ready to return for the Bulls trip, but Diskin is still happy with the group that he has got available to him.
“There are some joining full training but that doesn’t mean that they’re available for selection just yet,” said the Bulldogs boss.
“We’re still a little bit threadbare but we’ve got some quality. Alex Bretherton missed out (last week), Sam Smeaton and Reiss Butterworth (didn’t play) so we’ve still got some quality to come in there if we need it.”
Although they picked up the win against Rochdale last weekend to reach the quarter-finals of the new 1895 Cup, Diskin was less than pleased with the overall performance.
“It wasn’t a pretty performance and we’re not proud of that as a club, but we are proud that we’re in the next round of the cup,” he said.
“I think they were all very quiet in the first half. They had a bit of a dress down at half-time and I thought they perked up for a bit, but we still made way too many errors.
“You can’t make that many errors and expect to kick on as a team, but we were clinical to score enough points to create enough distance between us and Rochdale.”