Batley coach Matt Diskin has insisted he is confident his side can deliver in Toulouse this weekend as he prepares for his debut match as a first-team coach – but says he is keen to remind his players the trip to France is not a “jolly boys’ outing”.
The Bulldogs start life under Diskin with a trip across the Channel to take on Toulouse, who secured promotion from League 1 last year after beating Barrow in a sudden-death play-off encounter.
And while Diskin admits it will be a tough opener for his side, he told TotalRL that he is confident they can go there and get a result – so long as they don’t treat the trip like a holiday.
He said: “It’ll be a really tough one for us. Toulouse had a fantastic season last year and they play a very good brand of rugby having studied them closely, so it will be a tough start. I’m very confident though that if my players deliver what they’ve done in the friendlies it’ll be a really good game to watch.
“The only thing I’m scared of at the moment and the thing that does bother me a little bit is we’ve got a group of part-time lads who might see it as a jolly boys’ outing: but it’s not. We’re over there to do the business and get the win and I’ve hammered the message home to them – that’s the only variable that gives me some concern at the moment.”
Diskin also believes that it will be interesting to see how Toulouse fare in the Championship this year under increased pressure.
“They’re a bit of unknown entity; they played some good stuff last year but with no disrespect to League 1, it is a lot slower than the Championship so they’re going to be put under some pressure this season,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see how they handle that.”
Diskin has been in the job for a number of months after succeeding John Kear, and preparing his team behind-the-scenes as they look to repeat last year’s heroics when they made the top four in the Championship.
And he admitted that he’s loved every second of it so far. “I’m loving it, I don’t think I could be at a better club than this one,” he said.
“The club is really well run behind the scenes and I’ve come in to find a group of players who have been really receptive to my ideas and everything I’ve tried to put across – I couldn’t have enjoyed it any more. I was looking for a part-time role to help me develop my business but Batley was without doubt the right one – jobs like this don’t come around too often at clubs like these.
“The task is to get them to believe they can repeat what they did last year. Externally people believe they overachieved and some teams did have poor seasons, but my job is to make sure we’re perceived as a top-four club year in, year out.”