Championship preview: Bradford v Batley

Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes said: “Last weekend, against Workington, we were again far from our best and I was disappointed. We started the game off at a pace that they could not cope with but for whatever reason we lowered ourselves.

“The pace and control we showed at the start dropped off after we scored our early tries and we allowed them to get back into the game and apply pressure. We sorted ourselves out and pulled away as the game wore on but we know we need to start putting together 80-minute performances.

“We were not good enough last week but we have worked hard this week to put right our wrongs, moving into this game. Obviously everyone wants to beat us and we accept that but we want to win as well and we are not going to lie down.

“Batley will be no different and their league position means they need to start collecting points in a hurry. I am sure they are going to come flying out of the blocks and throw everything that they have got at us but if we perform better than we have over the last couple of weeks, I am confident that we can get a good result.

We need to be better and we need to improve, otherwise we will end up enduring tough days at the office. It is a mental challenge for the players and a lot of it is down to them and their personal standards. The boys have got to shape up and I am confident that it will start with this afternoon’s game.”

Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear was very disappointed with his side’s 24-12 defeat at Whitehaven. “I thought we’d made genuine progress in the previous two games,” he said. “We had a week to prepare and came up with an under par performance. What compounded that, was it was such an important game.

“This Sunday we’ve got a full-time team away from home but it’s the last of what you’d call the really big teams. After that we can hopefully start picking up league points.

“This is going to be a really difficult task because Bradford have adapted to life in the Championship and have been on an upward improvement graph. We need to play better, that’s the top and bottom of it.”