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James Donaldson eyes Super League return with Bradford Bulls
James Donaldson has a simple message for Bulls coach Francis Cummins: I’m here if you need me.
Donaldson and Adam O’Brien are currently on dual registration at Dewsbury and have featured in the Championship club’s opening three games.
The arrangement has allowed both men to play regular first-team rugby but Donaldson is itching to re-establish his Super League credentials.
The Cumbrian back-rower, who signed a one-year deal during the off-season, has not played for the Bulls for over 12 months.
Donaldson said: “At first I was a bit disappointed about going to Dewsbury because all you want to be is a first-team player in Super League.
“I’ve obviously been training as hard as I can to get back in Franny’s plans, but I’ve had to go to Dewsbury and find my feet another way.
“I’ve done that by playing two 80 minutes and a 60-minute game, with some of those games at a pretty good standard.
“There’s a great set of lads at Dewsbury, big Karl Pryce is there, and I’ve been playing loose forward every week.
“I’ve just tried to get through as much work as I can, which I’ve enjoyed.
“But I think I’m ready to take the step back up to Super League now.”
Donaldson injured his knee during the win at Castleford on February 12 last year and a specialist revealed he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
It ruled him out for the remainder of the season and followed a previous knee injury during Bradford’s Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat by Warrington in May 2010.
The move to Dewsbury has allowed Donaldson to work his way back to full fitness and seen him reunited with an old Bulls team-mate – Rams coach Glenn Morrison (pictured).
“When I first started out at Bradford as a 16-year-old, Morro took me under his wing,” Donaldson explained.
“He looked after me, picked me up every morning and made sure I was doing the right things.
“To be back with him is like old times but in a different way. Like I’ve said, though, I want to get back in the first team here at the Bulls.
“I think Franny is just looking after me following the injuries I’ve had.
“I’ve had several chats with him about it and he wants to make sure I’m definitely right.”
In the meantime, though, Jobe Murphy has risen to prominence and made his debut off the bench in last weekend’s home win over Castleford.
Should Donaldson find himself not included in the top 17 again for tomorrow’s visit of St Helens, he will keep plugging away and may well be called on by Dewsbury for their home clash with Whitehaven on Sunday.
O’Brien, rated highly at the Provident Stadium but currently third-choice hooker behind joint-captains Heath L’Estrange and Matt Diskin, could also line up for the Rams again this weekend.
Donaldson added: “Obviously it all depends on the fitness of the other lads in the Bulls squad, but I’m just waiting for the nod if Franny needs me.”