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Bradford Bulls legend Jimmy Lowes proud to be back at Odsal
JIMMY Lowes admitted being unveiled as the Bulls' new head coach marked one of the proudest days of his life.
The legendary former hooker, who enjoyed a glittering playing career at Odsal, was named as Francis Cummins' successor on a three-year deal.
He does not expect to bring in an assistant before Sunday's trip to his former club Warrington but will meet his players for the first time at training today.
The 44-year-old accepts the Bulls face a massive challenge to avoid relegation but is convinced owner Marc Green is committed to returning the club to its former glories.
Lowes, who was granted a release from the final year of his contract as Leeds Carnegie head coach, said: "It is a proud day.
"I've been blessed over the last ten years to work with some really good coaches and exceptional players at Warrington, Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie.
"It was a tough decision to apply for the job but, given my history with this club, I just felt it would be wrong not to."
Lowes, who was unsuccessful in his previous application for the job when Steve McNamara left Odsal, met with Green last week and was impressed.
The 1997 Man of Steel said: "I was very impressed, not just with Marc's commitment but his personality. He's a bubbly character and he seems like a decent bloke.
"He is very committed to the Bulls, to his business and to his family. He certainly sells himself."
Green is poised to decide in the next 24 hours whether to go to the High Court to try to win back the six points the club were docked for going into administration.
Lowes said: "I'll leave that to the board and I'd rather concern myself with what happens on the field because we need to get this right.
"If we get the points back, it's a big bonus. But if we get the points back and we're still not playing well then it's irrelevant anyway.
"We've got to get ready for both scenarios with a plan A and B.
"All we can do is fight and fight and fight. Even if it comes to the point where relegation does happen, then you still have to keep fighting to the last game.
"We must show the fans that even if we go down we will come back.
"It looks like the club is stabilising off the field and if the worst comes to the worse and we get relegated, then our aim is to get back up and be a real force in Super League again."
If, as seems increasingly likely, the Bulls go down at the end of the season, Lowes faces the prospect of a mass exodus of players.
It is believed that only teenagers Sam Bates and Adam Brook have contracts tieing them to the club in the event of relegation.
All other players would be free agents and Luke Gale is understood to have an offer on the table from Castleford, while Jamie Foster is attracting interest from rugby union clubs.
Lowes said: "If players get opportunities to move then they've got a decision to make.
"If they make a decision to move, that's fine. It's part of the game and you've just got to deal with it.
"When one goes, we go and swoop on somebody else. That's just the game we're in and we'll deal with it.
"Hopefully the core of this team will stay with us no matter what.
"But if we get relegated then players will want to move on and stay in Super League. We'll try our best to get quality players in."
Lowes also paid tribute to Cummins, adding: "Of course I feel for Franny.
"I was half in that situation when Tony Smith came in at Warrington, so I know what's it like.
"It's an unfortunate business at times and these things happen in the game when things don't go right.
"You're always thinking about that and unfortunately for Franny it happened.
"He will be bitter and sore for quite a while, I would imagine, but I hope he's not too long out of the game either."
Bulls captain Matt Diskin and Lowes' former team-mate Scott Naylor – who has told Bradford he would like to be involved in the new coaching set-up – are among the candidates for the assistant's job.