Workington Town head coach Phil Veivers is expecting a tough start to his side’s 2015 Kingstone Press Championship campaign when they travel to face Batley Bulldogs on Sunday.

Town finished seventh in the league last season; only above Batley due to three extra bonus points.

John Kear’s side suffered a shock 30-20 pre-season defeat to North Wales Crusaders of League One at the start of the month, but Veivers insists that that result will be irrelevant when the two teams line-up on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t say we’ll capitalise on it (Crusaders defeat). There were issues they had in that game that I think have been well documented from the coach (John Kear) that they disrespected a lower division side,” said the Australian.

“I’m not reading too much into the hiccup they had, I’m more inclined to look at the games where they have had very good results and played to their maximum ability.

“It’s always tough going to Batley, playing with the slope and what have you and I’ll be expecting a very physical and tough game there.”

Unlike Batley, Workington have won all of their pre-season fixtures and head into the season full of confidence. A 26-0 victory over local rivals Whitehaven was followed by a 24-6 win against a Wigan team comprised of fringe first team players and academy prospects. Veivers however is focusing on his team’s performances in those matches, not results.

“It didn’t matter who the opposition was I was just happy with how we played, in both games defensively we were pretty strong.

“The Whitehaven game I thought was scruffy with the ball and I was hoping for an improvement against Wigan and we got that. I’m hoping if we put them both together we can take them into the first round.”

After releasing Wales captain Peter Lupton this week, the former Salford head coach admits he is still looking at alternatives to bolstering his squad ahead of the season.

“I’ve released Peter Lupton and there’s a lot of red tape involving a half back option I had in Australia who we still haven’t got so I’m having to make do with what I’ve got and also look at Wigan for dual registration.”

The introduction of more full-time clubs in the Championship this year represents a challenge for Veivers’ side, but the former St Helens and Huddersfield full-back says his team are ready for the fight and excited ahead of rugby league’s new era.

“It’s always good (going up against the newly introduced full-time clubs), it gives them a competitive edge going into the game. Every player wants to play against the better players in the competition so it’s all good for them.

“As I’ve said and I’ll probably say again many times, I don’t think it’s a level playing field due to the financial gain each club gets in the division but they (the players) will be happy to go up against that competition and prove that this division is a tough outfit.”

 

Workington Town face Batley Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday, 15 February, kick-off 3pm.