Batley v Salford: John Kear in emotional farewell at Bulldogs

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IT will be an emotional afternoon at Mount Pleasant tomorrow when coach of the year John Kear bows out of Batley Bulldogs.

But Batley have a job to complete against Super League visitors Salford Red Devils and Kear insists his main concern is seeing his players do themselves justice.

Salford will be relegated if they lose their final match in the First Utility Qualifiers and London Broncos – who are tied with them on four points – beat Featherstone Rovers.

That adds an edge to what already promised to be a big occasion and Kear admitted: “It is going to be emotional.

“I have been there five years and it has been a very enjoyable and successful five years and this has just brought it to a crescendo.

“I would love us to perform very well indeed, not only from a selfish point of view, but also because some players are leaving the club and it is the last time we will be together as a group.”

Batley’s only win in the Qualifiers so far was at home to Kingstone Press Championship rivals Featherstone, but Kear feels they have improved.

“I think the game against Leeds was the best we’ve played and I was disappointed we didn’t beat Leigh last week,” he said.

“On any given day the top-four Championship teams can beat the bottom-four in Super League, but they have got to be at the top of their game and have a bit of luck for that to happen.

Kear steered Batley to the Championship Grand Final in 2013 and they were third in the table this year, despite a tiny budget compared to many of their rivals.

The prize money from their achievements in 2016 will keep the club financially secure and Kear said: “On the field they are in good shape for next season, recruitment-wise they are in good shape and financially they are in good shape. It is a good club and a healthy place to be around.”

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