Leak to return for Batley

Batley will welcome Alistair Leak back for their away match against Whitehaven tomorrow.

The Bulldogs head north to tackle Haven on Saturday evening.

Batley coach John Kear rates Whitehaven highly.

“I rate Whitehaven as a really good footballing team,” he said.

“They throw some very good attaching shapes at you and if we give them the amount of ball we allowed Dewsbury to have, we’ll find it very difficult.

“I’m certain it’ll be another close game this weekend and the weather might not be kind to us so we’re going to have to plan different strategies for different conditions.”

Batley edged to a narrow 18-16 victory over Dewsbury Rams last weekend as they continue their race for a top four place.

“I was very pleased with our will to win and attitude, rather than the performance against Dewsbury,” Kear said.

“Performance wise we didn’t do ourselves any favours.

“We didn’t look after the ball very well or build field position very well but what we did show was great desire, will and urgency to defend and ultimately that’s what brought us home.”

Despite leading 12-0 after just seven minutes, Whitehaven fell to a 26-18 defeat against Oldham last weekend.

Coach James Coyle believed his side didn’t have the right mind set going in to the game.

“We started off really well against Oldham, we were twelve points up after seven minutes but I think that start was a bad thing for us,” he said.

“I don’t think our focus was right, I think we thought Oldham were on a bit of a bad run and it was a good opportunity for us to get a good win but we didn’t want to work for that win.

Whitehaven have already faced Batley twice this season, with both games sealed with a drop goal and Coyle is expecting it to be another close game.

““They’re coming to us this time and hopefully that might give us an advantage and sway things the other way,” he said.

“They’re a good team, they’re playing really well this season and the close games are the ones they seem to be winning.

“They’ve won a lot of games by a couple of points and that’s the difference in their season this year.”

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