The future's bright: Bradford Bulls coach predicts club will thrive for years to come (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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The future's bright: Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins predicts club will thrive for years to come
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: Omar Khan acknowledges the applause of the fans at Odsal on September 1 last year after rescuing the club from the brink of extinction
Francis Cummins believes the Bulls have laid foundations that will set the club up for the next decade as they bid to return to winning ways tomorrow.
London Broncos are the visitors to the Provident Stadium as the Bulls celebrate a year to the day since Omar Khan was unveiled as the club’s new owner.
Khan and co-chairman Gerry Sutcliffe announced themselves to supporters before a 70-6 home defeat to Hull FC, which kick-started a new era after last year’s financial meltdown.
On the field, the Bulls have failed to make the play-offs for the fifth year in succession but Cummins is confident that a bright future lies ahead and that his side will be significantly stronger next term.
The acquisition of Garreth Carvell, Lee Gaskell, Luke George and Dale Ferguson, coupled with the nucleus of a talented young group of homegrown players, has given cause for optimism.
Cummins’ backroom staff will be increased significantly during the off-season and the Bulls coach said: “To be within a shout of the play-offs until the last couple of weeks of the season shows we are doing something right.
“We didn’t have any training kit until March and had to get the training ground restocked with equipment, which showed how difficult things were.
“But I know we are on to something good here and that we have laid the foundations for the club for the next ten years. That is undoubted in my mind.
“The way the players have trained and the way they apply themselves has changed tremendously but we need to give something back, which I believe we have done this year, for the fans.
“You’re worried about not making the top eight but we’ve definitely laid the foundations.
“Apart from one or two players, most of my squad are in their mid-20s and they have their best years ahead of them.
“We know that it’s coming – we just want to get there sooner rather than later.
“We were good enough to do it this year but just fell down in a few areas.
“Next year we will be stronger again in all departments. There will be a couple more physios, another conditioner and another coach coming in. The club will be in a lot stronger position next season.”
Cummins is delighted with the signings he has made but is keen to add more new faces, with a replacement for Keith Lulia understood to be on his radar.
“You can never have enough middle units and you’re always looking at forwards but we’re probably looking at a couple of utility players now,” said Cummins.
“We’re looking at projects, players we can work on rather than top-line signings.
“But the young kids who have come in to the squad this season and had a taste of it will be a year older and ready to play their part again.
“There will be a couple of players who need minor operations but nothing major. Everyone will be ready to go at the back end of October.”
Cummins is now demanding a victory over a London side who lie bottom of the table but who knocked the Bulls out of the Challenge Cup in May.
The Broncos’ top-flight future is in serious doubt, with their Twickenham lease due to expire and a lowest-ever Super League finish about to be confirmed.
Joint-skipper Matt Diskin admits the Bulls are keen to avenge their cup exit at the hands of Tony Rea’s side.
He said: “That was probably our lowest point of the season and we really underachieved that day.
“We were really disappointed with our performance and we’ve got an opportunity to try and gain a little bit of pride back.”
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