BATLEY BULLDOGS boss Matt Diskin feels that his players have “lost focus” after suffering back-to-back defeats.
Batley travel to Rochdale tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) to take on Rochdale Hornets, who have only won two of their 11 games this campaign.
The Bulldogs have lost their last two games in the Betfred Championship, losing away at Featherstone Rovers and Barrow Raiders in recent weeks.
And the former Bradford coach is wanting his players to be smarter when they take on second-bottom Rochdale.
“We are aware that most fixtures at Rochdale are tough and grubby affairs,” said Diskin.
“We have got to make sure we are ultra-disciplined in how we go about everything that we do.
“Rochdale play the game tough and sometimes that overspills but from their own admission they have probably struggled a bit for consistency this year.
“They have had some big losses but have had a couple of good wins as well, like the Dewsbury game last week.
“But we can’t get caught up in their inconsistencies or how they play the game as we have got to concentrate on how we want to play the game – because I think we have lost focus of that in the last two weeks.
“One thing the players do really well is work hard – they work really hard for each other.
“But the same problem is that they work hard when they don’t need to, if they are a little bit smarter with ball retention and game management then we won’t make the game so hard for ourselves.”
Diskin admitted that he was frustrated and embarrassed on Sunday afternoon when Batley lost 20-18 at Barrow.
The Bulldogs were in front until two minutes from time when a late try stole the points for the Cumbrian side.
“My initial thoughts after the game, and having reviewed the game, is that we got what we deserved. I was frustrated and a little bit embarrassed,” added Diskin.
“If you play the game as dumb, make as many unforced errors and play with the game management that we did then you are going to lose.
“We gave Barrow numerous opportunities to get over our tryline in the last 15 minutes of the game.
“You have got to praise the boys’ effort in defending the try line for so long.
“But if you are as dumb as we were and you give teams so many chances to attack your try line you are eventually going to concede.
“The nature of it being in the last minute is heartbreaking but not surprising with the number of chances we gave them.
“The players are a little bit mentally battered and bruised, as you would be after such a loss.
“We have pulled the teeth out in the review and that has been an uncomfortable process for some people.
“We know we have got quality and we know have got the ability to play some attractive rugby, we just need to find the consistency in doing that.”
Elsewhere, Dane Manning has joined James Brown on the Bulldogs’ injury list after he was injured in the contest against Barrow.
The former Halifax forward broke his knuckle and is expected to be out for around six weeks.