Halifax coach Karl Harrison upped the ante ahead of Sunday’s Championship date with Batley, asking why his former club have an ‘issue’ with his Shay switch.
The former Great Britain forward, who captained Fax for almost a decade in the 1990s, left Batley last autumn after two and a half seasons in charge, which saw him turn the Bulldogs from whipping boys into contenders; saving them from relegation, winning the Northern Rail Cup and taking them into the play-offs.
But Harrison - who brought five Batley players and assistant coach Lee Greenwood to Fax with him to Fax - admitted he was taken aback by the hostile reception he received when he took his new club to Mount Pleasant in May.
“It wasn’t a nice experience,” said Harrison, whose side lost 23-16 after one of their former Bulldogs, Wayne Reittie, was sent off on an afternoon when tempers threatened to boil over on - and apparently off - the field.
“I wasn’t allowed in the bar, I was verbally abused, I had people pushing me, it was a really disappointing reaction.
“I did the right thing by Batley; I left them in a much better position than they were in when I took over.
“They were able to attract a better class of player as a result, as well as a great coach in John Kear, who is obviously a far better coach than I am.
“But there is still this bad feeling towards me personally and the players who left.
“I’m really struggling to see what their issue is.
“I heard John Kear on the radio last Sunday after they’d beaten York and he didn’t talk about that game, all he wanted to speak about was us.
“That shows how big a game this is for them; I don’t think there’s any doubt they are going to be massively pumped up again.
“Will we all be shaking hands afterwards? I don’t know, I really don’t.”