John Bateman has vowed to hit the ground running tonight as he returns to action for the first time in over six months.

The homegrown Bulls star has not played since the Super League win at Huddersfield last August after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction during the off-season.

After several weeks of rehabilitation with head of strength and conditioning Tom Clough and physio Dan Ramsden, Bateman is back in full contact training and will play for the Academy side at Huddersfield this evening.

“I’ve been in contact for about two weeks now and my shoulder is coming on really well,” said the 19-year-old back-rower.

“I feel a lot better in myself and am looking forward to playing again. I’m hoping for a 20-minute blast in both halves to get a nice steady 40 minutes under my belt.

“I’m then aiming to come into contention for the first team next week or the week after.”

Bulls coach Francis Cummins has stressed the need for Bateman to undertake a full and gradual rehab’ from his operation for the sake of his long-term career.

Bateman believes he is already reaping the benefits and paid tribute to Clough, Ramsden and nutritionist David Dunne for their work with him.

“I think this is my 11th week of rehab’ now and I can’t thank Tom and Dan enough,” he said.

“They have been really good with me and Dave, our nutritionist, has been great with helping me get my diet right.”

Oliver Roberts will also make his first appearance of the season after injury for Paul Medley’s side tonight.