Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams: Boxing Day preview

Pivotal roles will be up for grabs when Dewsbury Rams visit Batley Bulldogs for the traditional Boxing Day Heavy Woollen derby (noon kick-off).

By Peter Smith
Friday, 24th December 2021, 6:00 am
Batley boss Craig Lingard is the reigning Championship coach of the year.
Batley boss Craig Lingard is the reigning Championship coach of the year.

Both coaches plan to field a strong squad and visiting boss Lee Greenwood is keen to see who puts a hand up for Rams’ half-back and full-backs positions.

Dewsbury have a new-look side and Greenwood said: “We’ve got Matty Baharrell, Jake Sweeting and Alex Smith and I dare say two of them are going to form the half-back pairing.

“We haven’t signed an established full-back; we have got people who can play there so Boxing Day is going to give us an idea of which ones look more comfortable than others.

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“There’s three or four who will get a shot at full-back, so there’s plenty to look forward to - it will give us a good indicator.”

Greenwood stressed his team are keen to lay down a marker against their closest and fiercest rivals.

“From a coach’s point of view, it is more about seeing what people are like, rather than the result, but once you get into it it is a local derby and you want to win it as well,” he said.

Home coach Lingard plans to give members of last year’s squad priority in Sunday’s starting lineup, before introducing some new faces later in the game.

“We are going to go as strong as we can,” he said.

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Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams: New faces set to feature in Boxing Day derby

“We want to go out and win the game so we are going to go with a strong 20-man squad.

“We are going to experiment with people in different positions as well, but we’ll be as strong as we can.”

Lingard insisted he is happy with how pre-season has gone so far.

“It has been good,” he said.

“It has been different to last year, we have had a few challenges along the way with training venues, the weather and what not.

“We’ve been using Ossett Trinity’s ground some evenings and had to train more on our pitch this year.

“We didn’t have the greatest home form last season and maybe not training on our own pitch in pre-season contributed to that.”