Batley face play-off crunch

Batley coach Karl Harrison believes Sunday’s Co-operative Championship clash with Sheffield will be crucial to his side’s play-off hopes.

The Bulldogs are currently eighth in the table, two points behind sixth-placed Toulouse.

Harrison said: “If we have any ambitions of getting in the top six then we have to beat Sheffield at home.

“I don’t think we’ve got the luxury of being able to rest players ahead of the Northern Rail Cup Final. Players in my squad need to work hard in practice and in games to make sure we get the three points.”

He added: “This game will be a particularly tough encounter. Sheffield will want to right their wrongs from the Northern Rail Cup quarter-final and we’ll have to be prepared for that.”

Harrison’s side lost 42-40 against Toulouse last week, but the Batley coach is likely to keep a largely unchanged line-up for Sunday’s game. Jason Walton (hand) is the Bulldogs’ only injury concern.

Sheffield start a run of three consecutive away games when they travel to Mount Pleasant.

Coach Mark Aston said: “As long as we go to Batley and play with enthusiasm and attitude, and play in the right part of the field and complete our sets, then I’ve no problems.”

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