BATLEY chairman Kevin Nicholas is hoping the fans turn out in force for Sunday’s home derby clash against the Giants.
The Bulldogs attracted a healthy Mount Pleasant crowd of just over 2,000 for their 30-6 victory over Heavy Woollen rivals Dewsbury in the re-arranged festive fixture on Sunday.
A win over the old enemy has obviously put the Batley fans in good heart and many are expected to return to watch their side do battle with a Super League club this weekend.
With the Bulldogs not having a second team, coach Karl Harrison will again field a strong line-up against what is a very youthful Huddersfield squad.
And Nicholas is hoping this doesn’t prevent the Giants fans travelling the short distance to taste their first live rugby league action for 2011.
“We were delighted with the turn-out against Dewsbury,” said Nicholson.
“We would probably have had a bigger crowd on Boxing Day, which is always very popular, but this was still an encouraging response by local people after a sudden change of date and it was a big financial lift for both clubs.
“If we can get good attendances on Sunday and then against Halifax a week later we’ll be very pleased. It was a relief to get the game played after the terrible weather of recent weeks.
“And several players looked very sharp against Dewsbury, especially Paul Mennell and Gareth Moore, but wingers Alex Brown and Wayne Reittie also looked eager and Ian Preece was excellent at full-back.”
Former Giants scrum half Mennell and Moore could form the starting half-back combination this Sunday, with stand-off Paul Handforth having suffered a hamstring injury in the game against Dewsbury.
As a result, Harrison may not risk his influential captain against the Giants.
But one Batley man already ruled out is prop Adam Robinson, who suffered a knee injury in the opening stages of last weekend’s win and is facing two months on the sidelines.