Rochdale Hornets are still looking for their first league win of the season but will be in good heart after an impressive performance against the University of Gloucestershire All Golds in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
Both Hornets and the Bullogs progressed safely into the fourth round with an injury-hit Batley side accounting for amateurs Kells.
The Bulldogs could be without Mark Applegarth this week, he is struggling with a knee injury, but Ben Blackmore is available.
Batley coach Kear said: “I have watched three of Rochdale’s games and they are taking teams very close. They are just falling away in the last 20 minutes, but at some stage they are going to upset someone. We have just got to make sure it’s not us.”
Kear added: “They’re not that far away from a Championship win and last week will have done their confidence the world of good.
“Our own season has been consistently inconsistent. We’re having some tremendous periods and some indifferent periods, and we’ve got to try to put 80 minutes together.”
Mike Ratu, Chris Baines and all impressed on their first appearances of the year for Rochdale in the 76-4 victory over the All Golds.
“A few players put their hands up. They earned their chance and they took it with both hands,” said Hornets coach Ian Talbot.
“It was a good performance. We have improved considerably from last season, but not enough to get that first win in the Kingstone Press Championship – yet.
“You know you’re going to be up against it when you play a team coached by John Kear, but we’ll give it our best shot.”