BATLEY BULLDOGS are “desperate” for a win tomorrow – and will do neighbours Dewsbury Rams a favour if they can end their Betfred Championship season on a high.
Bulldogs, who play host to second-bottom Swinton Lions tomorrow (3pm), have lost their last nine matches.
“We need a win desperately,” admitted coach Matt Diskin whose team were pipped 23-20 at arch-rivals Dewsbury last week.
“We have come off the back of a really disappointing loss. We were not far off full-strength, but we didn’t take the opportunities we had. We just need to start doing the small things well.”
Diskin reckons some of his players have been distracted by off-field matters, including contract renewals.
“We need to put some of the issues we’ve got behind us and start doing the team thing,” he insisted. “We have addressed that and had some tough conversations this week. We need to pick up a win before we start in the eights.”
Swinton are six points behind Batley and five clear of Dewsbury who are at second-placed Toulouse Olympique today (5pm UK time).
The French side need to win to guarantee four home games in the Qualifiers, but Rams boss Neil Kelly plans to rest key duo Jody Sheriffe and Dale Morton and has other players unavailable due to work commitments.
“Looking at the league table it should be an easy win for them, but I know we are a competitive side,” Kelly said. “We are going there with what we need to do in our campaign still in mind, but we aren’t going without hope.
“It is a big game for them and we realise the longer it is a contest and it is in the balance, the more pressure goes on them.”
With two sides to be relegated at the end of the eights, a win for Swinton at Batley would turn up the heat on Dewsbury.
“In this division if you get all the top teams in one go and then the repeat fixtures straight afterwards you can lose eight or 10 games and it does affect confidence,” Kelly observed. “We understand where Batley are and we hope they can win this week’s game.”