The Bradford Bulls go into the new Super League XVIII season with a sense of new found optimism having been saved from liquidation by new owner, Omar Khan.
The new ownership sought to make changes at the Bulls and started by appointing a new head coach, Francis Cummins, during the winter off season.
This is Cummins’s debut as the top man having been promoted from his role as assistant to, previous head coach, Mick Potter. The rookie coach is excited about the Bulls prospects for the long season ahead: “Realistically I’ve got the spine of that team from last year, some good young players who need to step up and if they do then who knows where we can go. Hopefully we can get in those playoffs again. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make some balanced athletes out of our squad and if we can stay fit then I’m confident that we can do really well, set the platform for this club and hopefully get into the playoffs”.
Whilst the Bulls had to deal with offloading a number of players they were also able to add some new talent. Matty Blythe and Ben Evans arrived on season long loans from the Warrington Wolves, Jamie Foster was added after his contract expired at St Helens and Adam Sidlow was signed from the Salford City Reds.
Football Manager at the Bulls, Stuart Duffy, played a big part in securing these players for the club and he is confident that the new look Bulls can make it into the playoffs for the first time since 2008: “Yeah I think they can get in the playoffs. A lot depends on injuries at the club because we haven’t got a very big squad. We are probably going to have about 24 players whereas last year we had about 30. We are very happy to have added the likes of Matty Blythe, Jamie Foster, Ben Evans and Adam Sidlow to that squad from last season and they have certainly bedded in well since joining us. Realistically last season we were a top 8 team if we hadn’t had the 6 point deduction and I think that whilst we have a slightly smaller squad this season we have some quality players. We are delighted to have Francis Cummins at the club as well who we think can do a really good job for us. So, yeah if we can keep the squad relatively healthy then I think we will certainly compete for the top 8”.
With a new owner, new coach and new players all recently acquired this has been a winter of change at the Bradford Bulls. However there is a confidence that those changes have given the Bulls a great chance of reaching their goal and making it into the Super League XVIII playoffs.