Batley Bulldogs v Featherstone Rovers: Derby clash is a ‘free hit’ for in-form Batley

THE PRESSURE is off Batley Bulldogs going into tomorrow’s big game at home to Featherstone Rovers (3pm), their coach Craig Lingard says.

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 8:39 am
Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

Bulldogs are on a run of three straight wins, including a stunning 34-16 victory at Widnes Vikings last week, which has lifted them to fourth in the Betfred Championship, just two places behind Rovers.

They are now in a strong position to claim a place in the play-offs and Lingard reckons that makes this weekend’s derby a “free hit”.

He said: “If we had been beaten last weekend it would have put more pressure on the Featherstone game.

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Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

“They will be expected to get a victory this week.

“It is a free-hit for us but we are full of confidence, we are looking up rather than looking down.”

Featherstone’s 13-game winning streak in the league was ended by leaders Toulouse Olympique last Sunday and they have also had two points deducted for breaching coronavirus regulation earlier in the season, following a Challenge Cup win over Batley.s

“They will want a reaction from their performance against Toulouse,” Lingard warned.

“Hopefully we can catch them on an off day and we will be on form.

“I can’t imagine a team like Featherstone will have two weeks on the bounce where they perform poorly so we are expecting a reaction.

“But we have won our last three games and are full of confidence and when you are full of confidence, anything can happen.”

Rovers boss James Webster insisted he is “not downcast” following the loss to Toulouse.

He said: “We understand why we lost and it’s something we can learn from.

“We tried really hard, but we lacked composure to finish our chances.”

Of Batley, Webster warned: “They are a good team.

“Craig has done a good job with them.

“They have two good halves and a fast full-back and anyone who’s got that has a chance.

“I like the way they play and they deserve to be where they are.”