Batley Bulldogs won't underestimate Whitehaven, vows Craig Lingard

CRAIG LINGARD has vowed that his Batley Bulldogs side will not underestimate Whitehaven when they return to Championship action on Sunday.
Craig Lingard. Picture: Lingard. Picture:
Craig Lingard. Picture:

Fresh from a game-free weekend, the Bulldogs head to Cumbria looking to pick up their sixth league win from eight games in 2021.

Whitehaven have won just two of their eight fixtures so far but Lingard feels that return does not reflect the quality within the Cumbrian’s ranks.

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“It is a difficult place to go. You have the journey to consider, they are always good on their own patch and they are a good team this year,” said head coach Lingard.

“The league table puts them in the bottom half but I have watched quite a few of their games this year and they have got a different dynamic.

“They have got a lot of class players in the outside edges and they still maintained that strong pack they have got.

“They pose a considerable risk and it is definitely a team we can’t underestimate because we will be facing a long journey home with our tails between our legs if we do.”

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Whitehaven’s pitch is notorious for becoming muddy and heavy in wet weather.

However, Lingard has warned that a dry surface will suit the hosts just as much as it will his side.

He added: “When it is rainy up there, there is one end of the pitch where it gets boggy, wet and damp.

“We are hoping it is going to be a dry track for us.

“But with the players Whitehaven have got and the quality in the halves and the edges, I think they will be looking at a fast track.

“So it will suit us but it will also suit them.”

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Batley’s start to the season has understandably delighted Lingard with the Bulldogs chief hailing the impact of half-back Tom Gilmore.

The former Super League player was signed with the brief of being Batley’s on-field general and Lingard feels that all of the new signings for 2021 have settled in brilliantly.

He continued: “It has been a really good start to the season. If you went back two or three months, if someone told me we could have five wins from seven after the teams we have played, I would have said yes all day long.

“Some of our new signings have settled in pretty quickly. Tom Gilmore has been quality for us.

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“We had some quality on the edge and down the middle but we just needed somebody to get us round the field, which he has done. That has taken a lot of pressure off Ben White and his performances this year have been outstanding.

“The players we have brought in have done the jobs we brought them in to do.

“Sometimes you don’t get recruitment right but everyone we have brought in has done the job we have been asking them to do.”