Batley Bulldogs optimistic they can replicate play-off place during 2022 Championship campaign

Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.comBatley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard. Picture: Ed Sykes/
Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard. Picture: Ed Sykes/
Batley bulldogs are optimistic they can compete at the top end of the table again in 2022 but head coach Craig Lingard has warned his side that it will be a tougher task to reach the play-offs this year.

The Bulldogs have kept the majority of their squad together following last season’s fourth-place finish and are in a strong position to challenge for the play-offs again.

However, Lingard believes that a number of sides who finished below them in the table in 2021 have added more quality to their ranks, meaning a more competitive campaign in 2022.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are hopeful and that is why we have maintained the majority of squad from last season,” said Lingard of Batley’s play-off ambitions.

“The message we are trying to get across to the players is that everyone else has improved this season as well.

“Just because we have got the same squad, it doesn’t mean we will automatically get the same results.

“If we want to get the results we did last year we have to work hard every single week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Last season was tough but this season will be even tougher with the teams we have got in the Championship.”

Batley kick off their campaign at home to West Yorkshire rivals Halifax Panthers, who finished one place above the Bulldogs in the table last term.

“They have brought a lot of numbers in. There are a lot of players who have dropped down from Super League,” said Lingard of this weekend’s opponents.

“The three games we played against them last season were all really tight and we expect the same this week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It is going to be a really tough game. We are hoping we can carry on from where we left off last season.”

Batley were without nine players last weekend as they concluded their pre-season preparations with a 50-6 defeat at Super League side Huddersfield Giants.

Bulldogs captain James Brown was one of the players who didn’t feature at the Giants after picking up an injury earlier this month but Lingard hopes to have him back on Sunday.

“We will have to have a check on a few bodies going into the weekend,” added Lingard.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We had eight players out injured last week against Huddersfield and one unavailable, so that is not ideal going into your first league game.

“There are several of those players who still won’t be available. James Brown took a knock on his arm against Widnes, so we are hopeful he will be available as there was no break.”