Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard admits he is starting to turn his thoughts to 2021 as uncertainty continues about a possible restart this year.
Lingard has only been in charge for a handful of matches after succeeding Matt Diskin at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, giving him minimal time to assess his squad.
But he knows that planning ahead will be important, particularly if the Bulldogs don’t return to action this year.
Lingard said: “The longer the delay goes on, the more likely it is that we won’t be playing a full league format.
“Whether we can come back and play some sort of regional league or cup competition I don’t know, but I imagine that is being discussed if we can’t have a full league format.
“We’ve started to look at next year and we’re trying to improve on what we did this year.
“We’ve been making some improvements at the ground with the gym, which has now been extended to the full length of the stand.
“That will give us a nice area to work in come next pre-season when it’s chucking it down.
“Then we’ve been looking at retention and recruitment.
“It’s a bit difficult until we know what the financial distribution will be and the budgets are decided, but we can identify some targets we might want, and who we might want to keep.
“There were certain areas we were looking to strengthen anyway this year. We only had two recognised halfbacks to start with and two recognised centres.”
Lingard also reported that the club has used lockdown to instal new toilet facilities at their home ground to help maintain its capacity.
SWINTON LIONS have announced a formal partnership with local community club Folly Lane.
The relationship between the clubs will cover player development pathways, operational and coaching help, and equipment and resource support.
Lions director of development Damian Ridpath said: “This is the second partnership for the club following our partnership with Belfast Eagles.
“Folly are located with our historical catchment area of Swinton and Pendlebury and it was really important to the club, following on from our innovative partnership with Belfast Eagles, to bring Folly into our Swinton family.
“Historically there have been many links between the clubs, but this is the first formal arrangement to be put in place.”
Steve Wild, the Lions’ operations director explained: “When I first sat down with Damian to start mapping out a community and development strategy, I stressed to him how potentially important was the link between the Lions and Folly.
“I’m therefore thrilled that the talks with Folly, headed up by Damian on behalf of the Lions, have progressed so well.
“Although historically I have a vested and emotional interest because my dad was the original captain of Folly back in 1946, my main thoughts are now concerned with how important our two clubs could be for each other moving forwards.
“I’ve said a number of times in recent months that we must grow our club and brand, and this includes being seen to be putting something into the wider sport, and encouraging young people to become involved at whatever level within their interests and capabilities.
“We recognise that a strong Folly Lane can only be good for Rugby League in the Greater Manchester area, and that in itself can only be good for Swinton Lions.
“This renewed relationship therefore represents another step in the right direction.”
HALIFAX centre Steve Tyrer says that players outside Super League deserve to have their voices heard alongside their top-flight peers.
Last week the GMB union led a move by Super League players to have a greater say on the big decisions in the game, having formed a committee of senior figures from each squad.
Many Championship and League One players are also members of the GMB and Tyrer would like to see a similar move made at some point in the future.
“I saw a statement from the RFL about a month ago saying they were in regular dialogue with Championship players, but they haven’t spoken to anyone at Halifax,” said Tyrer.
“It would be nice if all the captains got together like the ones in Super League are doing, so that we had someone at the table as well.
“But I think that’s quite far down the line.
“I think it’s great that the Super League boys have got together and stuck up for each other. It’s been needed for a long time and hopefully they nail it this time.
“In terms of Championship players I think sometimes people think ‘these lads are battle-hardened, they go to work and play and they’ll be alright’.
“But not every player works, we all have different situations and we do need a voice as well.”
OLDHAM assistant coach Brendan Sheridan’s battle against Covid-19 has been taken to a worldwide audience.
In a television link-up in the early hours of Thursday morning, Sheridan was one of several people to be interviewed by Philippa Thomas, the main presenter of the BBC’s World News Today.
Thomas simultaneously interviewed Brendan from his Dewsbury home and Brett Breslow in the USA.
Sheridan, who was in an induced coma for two weeks in Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, is now recovering well physically, but as he outlined in last week’s League Express, he has been struggling to come to terms mentally with everything he has been through.
The programme highlighted how the virus could severely attack relatively young and strong men like Sheridan and how it could affect them mentally as well as physically.
The 41-year-old is now having sessions with Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance group after being referred through the help of Roughyeds Chairman Chris Hamilton and Rugby League Cares’ Steve McCormack.
SHEFFIELD EAGLES coach Mark Aston says long-term injury duo James Glover and Matty James will be ready to play whenever Championship Rugby League restarts.
The pair have not featured since suffering serious injuries in the Summer Bash game against Barrow Raiders last May.
Aston said: “Glover is flying now – he’s telling me he’s faster than he was before the injury.
“He started off really well with us and he’s a determined kid. It will be good to have him back, and Jamesy, who will give us a bit more firepower up front.
“For those two the lockdown has been a bit of a blessing and has given them the time they needed to get back.”
TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE have teamed up with medical students in the city to check on vulnerable people in their local area.
Outside backs Bastien Ader and Paul Marcon helped to phone isolated people in Toulouse to assure them that they are not alone.
The club then followed up the calls to ensure that the recipients did not have any further needs.
A club statement read: “In these times of necessary physical distancing, this benevolent act can prove to be vital.
“Bravo to the medical students for this initiative in which the Olympians participated.”
WIDNES VIKINGS duo Jay and Ted Chapelhow last week featured on ITV’s Granada Reports for their role in the Care With Hair online challenge.
The initiative raises money for Community Integrated Care and has seen Rugby League players from across the game taking part, with the Chapelhow twins kicking off the craze.
Ted told the TV report: “Let’s be honest, your hair always grows back anyway.
“It was good fun – we loved it.”
LEIGH CENTURIONS strength and conditioning coach Micky Higham has launched a podcast alongside former Warrington prop Paul Wood.
The ex-Wolves team-mates have been speaking to leading Rugby League figures as well as others from outside the sport for ‘The Micky and Woody Show’.
Their first episode was with Warrington and St Helens assistant coaches Lee Briers and Paul Wellens, with Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin and UFC fighter Mike Grundy appearing in the second.
Paul Sculthorpe and Johnny Vegas have also featured, with details of upcoming shows on Twitter @MickyWoodShow.
WHITEHAVEN are among the clubs looking to establish whether players will be able to train again while continuing to be paid under the furlough scheme.
Reports last week revealed that Premiership rugby union teams have been given the green light to return to training without having to take their players off the government initiative.
Whitehaven director Andrew Canavan said: “We are trying to find out if our lads returning to some form of training would affect the furlough scheme.
“The lads are itching to get back into some organised training, even if just fitness based.”