Dewsbury Rams v Batley Bulldogs: ‘Favourite son’ Craig Lingard buzzing to be back in the game at Batley
FAVOURITE SON Craig Lingard will make his debut as Batley Bulldogs coach when their pre-season campaign kicks-off at Dewsbury Rams on Boxing Day (noon).
Lingard is Batley’s record try scorer with 142 touchdowns in 206 games from 1998-2008.
He began his coaching career with Bramley Buffaloes and on Bradford Bulls’ backroom staff and had a spell back at Batley as assistant to coach John Kear before two years in charge of Keighley Cougars.
“It is one I am looking forward to,” Lingard said of Thursday’s festive derby.
“It will give us an idea about where we are.
“It is not ideal in terms of preparation because you’re halfway through pre-season and there’s a lot of stuff you haven’t worked on or not worked on as much as you want to.
“But it will give us an idea of how good the stuff we have worked on is going. We will certainly get plenty out of it based on what we’ve worked on so far in training.”
Lingard took over from Matt Diskin, who left the club at the end of last season.
“I am happy with the effort everybody’s put in and how open and receptive they’ve been,” he added.
“With a new coach coming in, it has been a big change and everyone has had to take on new things – new calls, new shapes, new start points and new lines and all that sort of stuff.
“I think it has been good for the players who’ve been here a few years because it has freshened things up for them as well.
“They are having to learn new things and all the players have been very receptive and everything we’ve thrown at them so far in pre-season they have done to the best of their ability.
“They’ve been really forthcoming and accepting of everything we’ve given them so I can’t really be any happier as a coach.”
Lingard was axed by Keighley in May and admitted he is delighted to be back in the sport.
“It was strange to be away,” he recalled.
“It was nice to have a bit of a break and a bit of a rest, but it makes you realise whether you want to be in the game or if you’re happy being out if it.
“As much as I enjoyed the time away and with my family, it made me realise how much I wanted to get back.”