Wembley chance is incentive for Batley Bulldogs to create Challenge Cup shock at Featherstone Rovers
It is a tall order, but coach Craig Lingard says there is an “added bonus” at stake for Batley Bulldogs in Saturday's Betfred Challenge Cup second round derby at Featherstone Rovers (12.45pm).
Lingard admits “the league is the priority” for his side this year, but - as well as a potential meeting with Super League opposition in round three - this weekend’s four winners will also qualify for the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup.
“We’re now two games away from a Wembley appearance and that doesn’t happen every season,” Lingard pointed out.
“We know it’s going to be difficult because Featherstone are a top team, but we will use that as an incentive.”
Rovers are among the Betfred Championship promotion favourites and underlined their credentials with a 41-16 Cup win over Bradford Bulls last Sunday.
Batley also impressed in their 19-6 victory at Halifax and Lingard is keen to see how much they have improved since a 36-16 pre-season defeat at Rovers earlier this month.
“It’s not going to be easy, but you have got to beat these teams to progress,” he added.
“It will be a good contest for us, hopefully we can do better than we did in the friendly and it will give us another idea of where we are.”
Adam Gledhill drops out from last week’s team, but Dominic Horn, Aiden Ineson, Jonny Campbell, George Senior and Nyle Flynn, who didn’t play against Halifax, are included in a 21-man squad.
Featherstone boss James Webster reckons Bulldogs’ win at the Shay was a warning to Rovers.
“Full credit to them,” he said of today’s opponents who also visit Millenium Stadium, Post Office Road, in round one of the Championship next Friday. “I think they have recruited really well, they have got a good half-back in Tom Gilmore, two young centres from Hull FC and Jodie Broughton on the wing. They have a lot of grunt and determination in the middle and they will be a good test for us.”
Rovers are without Dale Ferguson (hamstring) from last week’s team, but Junior Moors, their star signing from Castleford Tigers, is available after being granted visa clearance and Callum Field, Brett Ferres, John Davies and Kris Welham are also in contention.
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