Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard hopes his side can enjoy a longer break between games than hosts York City Knights when the play-off contenders face off in the Championship Round 19 final game tonight (Monday).
Although this is the Knights’ second consecutive appearance on Premier Sports TV cameras after a 36-10 loss to the Halifax Panthers seven days ago, Batley’s last outing came against the Sheffield Eagles the previous Friday when they won 20-18.
As York urges supporters to wear black, with amber cards to hand out to create an impressive visual effect for viewers, manager James Ford wants a brighter performance than in the last two games, with a 24- 16 at home against Barrow. preceding the defeat in Halifax.
All but one of the Knights’ five defeats in 18 league games this year have come at the LNER Community Stadium, their new home since the start of last season.
York have won one game more than the Bulldogs, but Lingard’s men have drawn twice to be on the same 26-point tally, and they have a game in hand (their home clash postponed to the fourth round with Sheffield will take place on Wednesday August 3).
With the Knights looking for a first win of three, Batley is aiming to extend their unbeaten streak to eight and avenge a 10-4 home loss to York in February.
“We’re just trying to keep building and improving week by week, but we know it’s tough,” Lingard’s assistant Mark Moxon said.
The Knights will be without full-back Matty Marsh, who also missed the Halifax game, and Huddersfield Giants prop Ronan Michael on loan, due to concussion protocols in his case.
Ireland international Michael has already been sidelined with a damaged ankle and Ford said: “He has a lot of potential so I feel for him.
“He is coming back from an injury and he was playing well. Now he’s going to have another long spell on the sidelines.
York 21-man squad: Joe Brown, James Glover, Will Oakes, Brandon O’Hagan, Masi Matongo, Will Jubb, Jack Teanby, Chris Clarkson, Pauli Pauli, Jordan Thompson, Ronan Dixon, Marcus Stock, Danny Kirmond, Liam Harris , Myles Harrison, AJ Towse, Ronan Michael, Brad Ward, Levi Edwards, Bailey Antrobus, Tom Inman.
21-man Batley team: Luke Hooley, Perry Whiteley, Kieran Buchanan, Josh Hodson, Johnny Campbell, Ben White, Tom Gilmore, Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Dane Manning, Lucas Walshaw, James Brown, James Meadows, Michael Ward, Luke Blake , George Senior, Tom Lillycrop, Dale Morton, Ben Kaye, Nyle Flynn, Martyn Reilly.
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