Doncaster RLFC: Batley Bulldogs Challenge Cup clash will be good gauge for us – Russ Spiers

Russ Spiers
Russ Spiers

Doncaster RLFC prop Russ Spiers is confident the Betfred League One side can upset the odds in Sunday’s Coral Challenge Cup fifth round tie.

The Dons take on Batley Bulldogs who will make the short journey from West Yorkshire buoyed by a confidence-boosting 16-14 win over relegated Widnes Vikings in their Championship clash at Mount Pleasant.

Hoping to be fit after coming off in the second half of Sunday’s league win over Coventry Bears with a knee injury, Spiers says the Dons will also go into the game in good spirits after coming from 12-4 down to beat the visitors 44-18.

“They probably took us by surprise when we played them in the Challenge Cup,” said Spiers.

“They’ve got a big set of forwards and they are hard to handle, but we’d done a lot of work on them in the build-up to Sunday’s game so we knew what to expect.

“They’ve already beaten Newcastle and I think they’ll beat other top teams this season because they are a much-improved side.

“Sunday’s win made it three from five in the league and given our tough start we’d probably have settled for that though we certainly should have beaten Hunslet at home.

“With other results going our way we are back in the mix in the battle for top spot and automatic promotion to the Championship where we feel we should be.”

Although the Dons finished well on top in the second half Spiers admits that the South Yorkshire side are going to have to raise their game if they are to make a rare appearance in the sixth round of the competition.

“We know Batley have got a big pack and will be a physical threat,” he said.

“But quite a few sides at League One level - such as Workington - have got big packs so it’s not as though we aren’t used to playing teams like that.

“Batley will probably just be a little bit quicker.

“They’ve also got smart halves and a threat out wide so we know we are going to have to play well. Hopefully home advantage will play a big part in the final result.

“We feel that we are good enough to be in the Championship and Sunday’s game gives us the chance to test ourselves against a team from that division.”