Matty Blythe has vowed to repay Francis Cummins’ faith in him after effectively being named as one of the Bulls’ first-choice centres for 2013.
The 24-year-old Warrington man has joined the club on a season-long loan and could form a centre pairing with Keith Lulia.
Blythe was handed the number four jersey when Cummins revealed his squad list earlier this week, pouring confidence into him as he bids to become a Super League regular.
Blythe said: “I’ve come to Bradford to play regular first-team rugby, so I was made up to be given the number four shirt and actually quite proud.
“There have been some great players who have played for this club down the years and that’s a big inspiration for me.
“Being given number four will just make me work even harder in preparation for the start of the season because I know that Franny has already put his faith in me. I’m now looking forward to repaying that faith.”
Blythe remembers watching Brian Noble’s all-conquering Bradford side, who reached five successive Grand Finals between 2001 and 2005 and won three of them.
“I’m not saying I’m going to be the next Shontayne Hape or anything like that but the history of the club certainly speaks for itself,” he said.
“There have been some great players here down the years and I’m looking forward to hopefully playing my part this coming season.
“Pre-season is going really well and the lads have bonded together superbly. It feels like I’ve been here for years.”
Where Blythe’s future lies beyond the end of the coming season remains to be seen.
For now he is focusing solely on proving a success at Odsal and is enjoying working with teenage trio Oliver Roberts, Sam Wood and Curtis Naughton, who were recently promoted into the first-team squad.
Blythe said: “I’m not really thinking about anything past Bradford. I just want to help the Bulls to a really good season and play regularly.
“The young kids they’ve brought into the first-team squad seem very knowledgeable and strong physically.
“They seem to have been influenced by the club’s ethos of working hard and off the pitch they’re involved in the social side of things too.
“Then you have the older lads such as Chev Walker, whose professionalism is out of this world. It’s similar with someone like Matt Diskin.
“The senior players’ professionalism is rubbing off on myself and the young lads. I’ve come here to be a senior player myself and to help the youngsters.
“We can learn from each other, though, and there is stuff that the younger lads do which impresses us too.
“As players you’re learning all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are a senior pro or a young kid. We’re all training well together and looking forward to the new season.”
Meanwhile, Luke Gale underwent surgery on his injured ankle yesterday which is expected to rule him out for eight weeks.