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Danny Bridge tipped to make most of Bradford Bulls loan deal
Bulls coach Francis Cummins has backed Danny Bridge to follow in the footsteps of Ben Evans after he arrived on loan from Warrington.
Bridge, the 21-year-old brother of former Bradford centre Chris Bridge, has joined the Bulls on a one-month deal.
He played for Ireland at last year’s World Cup and can operate in the back and front row, boosting Cummins’ small squad following the departure of Garreth Carvell.
Prop Carvell was yesterday named in a 19-man squad to face Catalan Dragons at the KC Stadium tomorrow night after Hull confirmed they had signed him on a one-year contract with the option of a second year.
But Cummins is working hard to add to his squad further after recruiting Bridge, who is in contention for the Super League opener at home to Castleford on Sunday.
The Bulls head coach said: “I coached Danny and Adam O’Brien in the England under-16s but he’s physically changed a lot since then.
“He’s a strong back-rower and a really big man, so I probably see him more of a middle man.
“He’s very big and strong but he has some skill about him too. He can put some real hits in and was like that as a kid. He gives us another number in the back and front row.”
After an injury-plagued start to his season-long loan at Odsal last year, Evans made his Super League debut and established himself as a regular in Cummins’ side.
The Odsal coach said: “Clubs like Warrington have done very well to bring these lads through but it’s tough to find a pathway to first-team rugby with international players ahead of them.
“That’s how it was for Ben Evans but he came here, did really well for us and got into Wales’ World Cup squad.
“That shows we are giving these players something and they are adding to our squad as well.”
Cummins is keen to add at least one prop to his squad after Carvell returned to Hull, and Evans could yet return for a second loan spell, although he is currently involved in Warrington’s first-team squad and could face St Helens tonight.
On Carvell’s departure, Cummins said: "He's made his decision. It's disappointing but, if a player doesn't want to be here, you have to move on.
"We've brought Danny Bridge in, and that will probably be it for this week but we are looking at other options as we speak.
"We need another middle (forward) or two. We knew we had to any way when we had Gaz. We need to bolster the squad in that area."
It is not clear whether the Bulls will pursue the matter further with Hull FC or Carvell himself.
Matty Blythe (thumb) will be sidelined for another fortnight at least and Dale Ferguson is a major doubt to face Castleford on Sunday as he remains hampered by injury.
But Luke George is in line to make his first appearance for the club, and Brett Kearney could also feature after returning to full training.