‘We need a lot of things to go our way’ - Batley Bulldogs set for dramatic Championship finale
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The Bulldogs host already-relegated Newcastle on Saturday, September 23 (kick off 3pm), a full 24 hours before play-off rivals Halifax Panthers face Swinton Lions and York Knights travel to Barrow Raiders.
First and foremost, Batley need to beat Newcastle to give themselves any chance of claiming a top six spot. However, to retain that position come 5pm on Sunday, they then need Swinton to cause a shock at The Shay and for York to fail to record a victory in Cumbria.
If the Panthers are defeated and York do win, the Bulldogs will need to overturn a minus 14 points difference.
Ahead of what could turn out to be a weekend of drama in the Championship, Lingard said:
“We need a lot of things to go our way on Saturday and Sunday for us to get back into the top six. But it goes back to controlling what we can control. The first thing that we have got to do is win against Newcastle. That is a given. We have got to win the game. Then, however unlikely it is that both York and Halifax lose, we know that if we win the game then we’re in the play-offs.
“The second thing is, if we win the game, we’ve got to win by as many points as we possibly can. That means if York win by less than 14 points compared to us then we go above them and we’re then waiting on the Halifax result. However, over the season, we have struggled to score points.
“We have scored, on average, 10 to 12 points per game less than we have scored over the last two seasons. A lot of that is down to Luke Hooley who scored 20 plus tries last season and around 15 the season before and both wingers, on the back of Luke, scored 20 plus last season.”
He added: “But Newcastle are coming on the back of a really good victory themselves against Barrow. Just because they are down there at the bottom of the table doesn’t mean they don’t have any threats and that it is going to be a walkover for us.”
And Lingard wants as many people to come to attend the club’s last home game of the season, which could yet be, potentially, the head coach’s final game in charge.
“These are the sort of games where we want people to come out in numbers. It’s great that people turn up for semi finals and a final at Wembley, but this is when we need people down there to support the club and put some money through the gate and over the bars.
“That is what is, ultimately, going to make the club stronger financially in the future - these games where they are not the flashy games or the high profile games. These are the games where we need them more than the other games.
“It should be a good day as well. The end of season awards are straight after the game and it should be a good occasion. Hopefully we can celebrate it with a victory, a good victory, and celebrate the success we have had this season, and the success during the time period that I’ve been there as well.”