Bastley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams: Derby day has more than usual riding on it

Michael Knowles celebrates scoring for Dewsbury against Featherstone last weekend.
Michael Knowles celebrates scoring for Dewsbury against Featherstone last weekend.
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DERBIES ARE always big games, but tomorrow’s Heavy Woollen clash has more than usual riding on it (3pm).

Hosts Batley Bulldogs are 10th in the Betfred Championship, one place and a single point ahead of neighbours Dewsbury Rams.

Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin.

Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin.

“Given the league positions, this one has one has a bit more significance than normal,” Bulldogs boss Matt Diskin admitted.

“I wouldn’t say we are safe [from relegation] at the moment.

“There is a bit of pressure, particularly on myself.

“As coach you are judged on performances and we’ve not quite had those.

“We have got to come up with a big performance to put some uncertainty to bed.”

Diskin felt last week’s win at Rochdale “got a bit of a monkey off our back”.

He added: “We were a lot better in that game, we had a low error rate and we played some good rugby.

“We are going into it [tomorrow] quite confident, but we know Dewsbury will be as well after their recent performances.”

Rams coach Lee Greenwood has a similar view to Diskin.

“Whoever wins on Sunday will definitely be safe,” Greenwood said.

“That would give us a relaxing few weeks, from our point of view, if we were to win.

“I don’t know if Batley would be relaxed, they are obviously disappointed with where they are.

“They expected to be higher, but I expected to be where we are this season.

“We lost quite a few of our starting players last year and were late trying to replace them – and probably haven’t replaced them all.

“We were playing a bit of catch up so I expected a tough battle and it hasn’t disappointed so it would be nice to win and go above Batley and that would be it.

“We’d be in the Championship and we could enjoy the last few weeks and try and finish as high as we can.”

Rams have won two and drawn one of their last six games and been competitive in all of them.

“We have turned a corner performance-wise,” Greenwood added.

“The challenge is can we keep doing that for the last four games.”