Harrison looks for Bulldogs' spirit to surprise Catalans

ATHLETICISM and enthusiasm could be the biggest contributing factors if Batley Bulldogs add their name to the illustrious list of Challenge Cup giantkillers this evening.

Victory over Catalans Dragons would not rank alongside Sheffield Eagles' memorable 1998 final triumph over Wigan or perhaps even Championship rivals Barrow's success at Castleford in the last round but it would be a huge achievement for the West Yorkshire side as they bid to end a 99-year wait for a semi-final appearance.

And coach Karl Harrison believes his part-timers have the ability to produce the performance necessary at Mount Pleasant against their French Super League opponents.

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Bottom-placed Catalans are struggling for any sort of form and learned this week coach Kevin Walters is quitting at the end of the season.

Some of their players may dwarf Batley's in terms of size and physicality but Harrison points to his squad's other attributes as he plots a gameplan for the club's biggest fixture in decades.

"The Championship is a tough, tough competition and there are some good players down here," said Harrison, who has few injury concerns.

"The confidence and momentum is building and we are a hard team to stop once we get going. We are a very young, athletic team and I always said that when the grounds firmed up and the sun came out we would do okay.

"We are not as big physically as the other teams around us. But athletic-wise, agility-wise and fitness-wise we are a match for anyone.

"I think, if Catalans Dragons come here under-prepared, we will beat them."

It is highly unlikely Catalans will take Batley lightly given their own season would be effectively over if they fell this evening.

The 2007 cup runners-up have won just twice in Super League all season and even a drastic turnaround in form is unlikely to see them make the play-offs.

Batley contemplated switching the tie to Perpignan in a bid to increase profits but instead decided to give their supporters the chance to come out and celebrate the fixture with them, hoping for a 2,000-plus crowd.