Bradford Bulls coach Cummins making the best out of a bad situation (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins says he would never have recruited in summer if he had known severity of situation
The Bulls’ training ground at Tong was its usual hive of activity as Francis Cummins’ players were served lunch on Tuesday.
Matt Diskin was talking about leadership and his responsibilities as club captain.
Academy graduates such as Sam Wood, Adam O’Brien, Alex Mellor and Oliver Roberts looked ready to step up to the next level.
Numerous specialist backroom staff were on hand to provide an unprecedented level of care to Cummins’ men.
Everything looked geared up for the Bulls to kick on in 2014.
Sadly for Cummins, the club’s latest financial crisis threatens to undermine the foundations that have been laid during pre-season.
It could dictate that the Bulls coach is not only forced to shed staff but players too.
“We’ve got a few concerns at the moment,” said Cummins.
“It’s frustrating and unfortunately we’re going to have to take another step back to go forward.
“The quality within the squad is better than last year and the numbers are probably greater because the young lads are a year older now.
“Although we’re staring down a barrel, my staff in particular have been absolutely fantastic.
“They have been really professional and worked so hard for the players, which is testament to the character of them all.”
Cummins himself deserves immense credit for the way he has handled the situation.
The Bulls coach, a positive person by nature, spoke with passion and honesty about the situation to supporters at last week’s fans forum.
Let it be remembered that Cummins served the Bulls for three months on a voluntary basis alongside Mick Potter after the entire coaching staff were made redundant during the tumultuous 2012 campaign.
Cummins said: “I’ve had a bit of a rough run haven’t I? But it could be worse – I could not have a job and I’ve experienced that as well.
“I’m very much of the mindset that there will be an easier time but we’re just going to have to fight through this one and get to where we need to get to.
“It’s not easy and I’ve had to have conversations with people saying ‘this is the situation and maybe you’re going to have to listen to some of these offers’.
“You don’t want that as a coach – I don’t want anybody in this team to go.
“If I did, they would have gone already. It’s disappointing in that I’ve almost invited some of these players into this environment.
“But I wouldn’t have brought anyone in if I had known the situation that was around the corner.”
While cuts are highly likely in Cummins’ backroom team, the Bulls coach stressed that the club must play things very carefully with regards to their current playing staff.
“In terms of the backroom staff, there are things we have been trying to get sorted in the past few days, so we’ll see how that pans out – but you can’t cut players,” he said.
“There is a waiting game going on with players with regards to London Broncos.
“Some clubs could push players there and then try and come in for ours.
“It’s not a massive market – let’s not pretend there are loads of players and loads of clubs.
“Most clubs have reached their spending limit anyway.”
Quite how Cummins’ squad will look heading into the season-opener at home to Castleford on February 16 is anyone’s guess.
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