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Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs: Duffy expects tough test against local rivals Batley

Featherstone head coach John Duffy.
Featherstone head coach John Duffy.

BOTH COACHES are expecting a closer result when Featherstone Rovers face Batley Bulldogs for the second time in five weeks tomorrow (3pm).

Rovers won 40-14 at Batley on March 25, but Bulldogs have won three of their four games since – the defeat being to Betfred Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack – and even with home advantage, Featherstone boss John Duffy is predicting a tough battle.

Batley head coach Matt Diskin.

Batley head coach Matt Diskin.

“They are playing really well,” Duffy said of tomorrow’s visitors.

“They have got some injured players back – and some big players there – and they had a very good result against Toulouse the other week.

“They will be looking to turn us over after the game at their place, when they were missing a few players.”

Rovers are second in the table, but Duffy wants an improved performance after last Sunday’s 26-16 win at Doncaster in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup. He said: “Doncaster were outstanding, but I thought we could have handled the game a lot better and been a lot more professional. We’ve had a good week in training, everything is looking really sharp and we are looking forward to the game.”

Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin is in upbeat mood after his side’s recent improved form. He said: “We’re looking to continue the momentum we got from the Easter period. We had a pretty successful Easter, we hit our targets and goals and we want to ride that momentum.

“Going to Featherstone is a tough task, they are playing some good rugby and spending money that allows them to bring in quality players.

“That was the difference last time, they had one or two individuals we struggled to control, like Luke Briscoe. Misi Taulapapa and Anthony Thackeray are back now, but if we control those individuals and go set to set, we have a chance.”

Batley had no game last weekend and Diskin said they are “physically and mentally” refreshed. He added: “We are all in good spirits and looking forward to seeing how we respond after a week’s rest. We competed well for 50/60 minutes last time and we are quietly confident, as we are every time we step on to the pitch, but we are under no illusions – we know it will be a tough, gruelling fixture.”