BATLEY BULLDOGS chairman Kevin Nicholas admits he has taken a ‘calculated risk’ in providing the money for John Kear to strengthen his squad in a bid to improve on a lacklustre 2015 campaign.
Batley finished fifth in the Super-8s, just four points above the relegation zone, but Nicholas is optimistic about achieving much more in 2016.
“We have pushed the boat out a bit during the off-season,” said Nicholas.
“Everyone associated with the club was disappointed with where we finished and so we want to step up and I think the new signings will certainly help us to achieve much more.
“I’m delighted with how strong our squad looks and I’m really pleased with how John (Kear) has brought new players in and also retained so many from last year.”
The news comes just two days before Batley’s opening pre-season fixture against Dewsbury, where the sides will contest the Roy Powell Trophy.
And Nicholas is hoping Batley can lay down a marker to carry them through to a much higher position in the Championship next season.
“A successful campaign for us would be to make the Championship Shield final or even the top four,” added Nicholas.
“I think it is about time we aimed a bit higher as a club and give the fans something to get excited about.”
“I think the fans on Boxing Day will be eager to see the team back in action.
“I know they say it is just a friendly but I know when you’re local to the two town’s there is always a competitive edge when Batley and Dewsbury meet.
“I’m personally relishing a long season in which, I’m confident, will see Batley and Dewsbury battle it out for the higher places in the league.
“I think both clubs have the strongest squads they have had in many years,” added Nicholas.