Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams: New faces set to feature in Boxing Day derby
New signing James Meadows is racing against time to be fit for his Batley Bulldogs debut this weekend.
The former London Broncos half-back/full-back is “doubtful” for the traditional Boxing Day pre-season opener at home to Dewsbury Rams.
“He took a bit of a knock on his shoulder in training last week,” coach Craig Lingard revealed.
“We will not risk him unless he is 100 per cent good to go, which is disappointing.
“I was excited to see him play in that first game, but if he’s not right we aren’t going to risk him.”
Another former London man, centre Josh Hodson, is set to be among the substitutes for Sunday’s noon kick-off, as Lingard gives priority to members of last season’s squad.
Recruits Perry Whiteley - a winger signed from York City Knights - and hooker Luke Blake, who had a previous spell at Batley five years ago, are also expected to be among the substitutes.
Dane Manning (thumb) and Aiden Ineson (wrist) have yet to train following off-season operations and will not be considered this weekend.
Nyle Flynn, who suffered a knee injury in Bulldogs’ Betfred Championship semi-final defeat at Toulouse Olympique in October, will be sidelined for at least another two-three months, ruling him out of the opening weeks of the league campaign.
Both Lingard and his Rams opposite number Lee Greenwood plan to use around 20 players on Sunday, when the teams will compete for the Roy Powell Memorial Trophy.
Half-backs Jake Sweeting and Matty Beharrell, who helped Doncaster to the League One Grand Final last term, are expected to be among the new faces on duty for Rams.
“We’ve got a couple missing through suspension and one or two who haven’t fully trained this week,” Greenwood confirmed.
“We’ll see how they are and anyone who hasn’t trained fully won’t play, but everyone else will.”
With the Championship kicking off at the end of next month, Greenwood is keen to see how his side shape up.
He said: “We’ve got quite a few new bodies in key positions, so there’s plenty of people to have a look at.”