Nick Scruton believes the arrival of fellow prop Garreth Carvell will help to bring the best out in him this year.
Scruton was the star man in the Bradford pack last year and won a clutch of prizes at the club’s end-of-season awards night.
Carvell has joined the Bulls after five star-studded seasons with the Wolves, where he won three Challenge Cups and established himself as one of the best front-rowers in Super League.
Scruton hopes to benefit from that experience, with Carvell taking more responsibility on the pitch.
“Does it take the pressure off me having Gaz around? Yes, it definitely does a little,” said Scruton, who could feature alongside Carvell in Sunday’s opening pre-season friendly at home to Hull FC.
“Towards the back-end of last season I was playing big minutes, which I didn’t mind because I enjoy the responsibility.
“But maybe taking that off me now will take that pressure to carry the team a bit to go forward off me so that I can relax a little bit and enjoy it. That way I can then play my best rugby.
“But I’m not just wanting to take a back seat to big Gaz Carvell; not in the slightest.
“I want me and him to play well together and I think that we’ll complement each other pretty well.”
Despite ending last year with a broken wrist, Scruton – who is entering his sixth year as a Bull – is fully fit to take part in Francis Cummins’ preparations for 2014.
He said: “Last year was the first full pre-season that I’ve had in quite a few years without all the injuries that I’ve been having. I now think I’m getting the benefits of that again.
“I haven’t had two pre-seasons in a row for years and years, so it’s standing me in good stead and I’m ready for another good season.
“I’m miles ahead to where I was at this stage of pre-season last year, so for me it’s going good.
“And all the new lads are settling in well and ripping in now in what’s been a hard pre-season for the club.”