Head coach John Kear caught up with the website on Friday morning to discuss the weekend fixture with the Keighley Cougars.
With the Cougars on the horizon, JK was asked about the recent sequence of interesting friendly results: "Recent results haven't been particularly bizarre in my opinion. If anything they have been what we would typically expect to see - sides have different expectations and priorities from these games. You can sometimes take confidence from some performances or highlight things to work on, but ultimately these games are just part of our preparation."
The Bulldogs' current injury situation is such that three key players will be unavailable and JK was able to give an update on the current statuses of Danny Maun, Paul Mennell and Gareth Moore: "Danny Maun has now had his knee cleared out, and the operation appears to have been very successful. Danny will be up at the Mount on Sunday to cheer the lads on and early indications suggest he'll be back on the playing field in 4-6 weeks. I thought he was a contender for man of the match against Dewsbury on Boxing Day so we'll be glad to get him back in action - he's evergreen and like a fine wine: getting better with age! As for Paul Mennell, he had a bang on the hand on Boxing Day so he'll miss Keighley and possibly Halifax - there's no dramas with Paul, just precautionary.
"Gareth Moore is being operated on next week in Hull, so it's positive news the operation is finally going ahead, but obviously that is tempered by the fact that he'll be out of action for about 12 weeks. A plus point is that Gareth should be both fresh and fully fit for the final two-thirds of the season."
When questioned about team selection for Sunday's game, JK was keen to impress that it is all about game time and rotation in pre-season. "All the newly-signed players have been promised a run-out in two of our three pre-season matches to stake a claim for the start of the season and some utility players will try different positions. Against Halifax we may have a look a look at some of the Huddersfield Giants players that are not selected for Paul Anderson's 19-man Super League squad too. I was impressed with all the new guys who showed up against Dewsbury.
"I've watched both Keighley games; against Halifax they were in it until the last quarter and Marchy had them playing well at Barrow. The Cougars are playing good football and I expect them to be challenging again for the play-offs. I think all three games in pre-season are a good challenge - I wasn't happy with some aspects of the Dewsbury game, but we controlled the match well and both Keighley and Halifax will be tough but I'm delighted with the standard of opposition as it will give us and indication of what to expect when the season starts."
Sunday's squad: Potts, Campbell, Walton, Bretherton, Faal, Johnson, Black, Hemingway, Smith, Rowe, Hirst, Leary, Whitmore, Flanagan, Esders, Scott, Applegarth, Lindsay, L. Walmsley, Davies.
John Kear was in conversation with Mark Ward.
Batley Bulldogs v Keighley Cougars will kick off at 2.00pm this Sunday.