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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Batley boss fears Whitehaven backlash

Batley boss John Kear is discounting Whitehaven’s horror show against North Wales Crusaders as he prepares to host the Cumbrians on Sunday.

John Kear photo
John Kear

A Haven win against the Welsh would have seen Dave Woods’ side move into a Championship play-off place and within one point of the Bulldogs.

But they produced a lifeless performance last weekend and were blown away 34-0 by the Crusaders, who had lost their previous five outings.

Kear, however, expects them to be keen to make amends at Mount Pleasant and is preparing for the type of Haven performance seen in recent derby wins against Workington Town and Barrow.

“I know full well we will be challenged. We are preparing for the ‘good Whitehaven’,” warned the coach, who reckons they may not have recovered from the Town clash when they hosted North Wales.

“A derby game takes a lot out of you, and unfortunately for Whitehaven, if they’d had two weeks’ preparation they may have got over it.

“But they had a one-week turnaround against a Crusaders’ team with plenty to prove.”

The former Hull and Wakefield coach reckons only league leaders Leigh have been able to maintain a consistently high standard this term, with Halifax and Featherstone next best.

Kear, who has re-built his team after losing a dozen members of last season’s squad, reckons the pressure on players and clubs has been ramped up due to five clubs facing relegation this season.

He may have playmaker Ben Black back this weekend for his first appearance of the season after injury but believes he may need more time.

“I would say it’s hope rather than expectation. It may be a couple of weeks too early,” said the coach, who has been impressed with Haven hooker James Newton’s recent form.

“He has been Mr Consistent in the games I’ve watched. He’s a really good player, that kid.”

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