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Francis Cummins keen to call up the cavalry for Bradford Bulls
Bulls coach Francis Cummins is hopeful the club’s change of ownership will be concluded early next week as he bids to strengthen his threadbare squad.
As revealed in yesterday’s T&A, a deal had been struck in principle for a London-based consortium to buy the club from administrator David Wilson.
It was hoped that the sale would be finalised before tomorrow’s trip to Hull KR but the RFL have still not received proof of funds and no official announcement is expected until Monday at the earliest.
Cummins said: “We were hoping for the end of this week but it’s probably looking more like the start of next week now – that’s the only little bit of word I’ve had.
“I had a good meeting with the administrator last week but I’m not in regular contact with him because that’s not my job to be.
“My job is to prepare the rugby league team and I liaise with the likes of Robbie Hunter-Paul, who tells me what’s going on.”
The Bulls’ squad remains desperately low on numbers and it is hoped that Cummins can bring in new faces when the takeover is complete.
But the Bradford chief said that he has yet to learn what funds will be available as and when the new owners are in place.
Asked if he had signings lined up, Cummins said: “No, not really because I don’t know where I’m going to be.
“I don’t know if I’ve got a war chest, I don’t know if I’ve got anything to spend.
“I’ve got people who I would like but I don’t know if the new owners have got money to spend. They’re going to need a lot of money if they’re going to buy people.
“Yes, I have some interest [in players] but until I know where I am, I can’t move. Until the club is sold and it’s been signed on the dotted line, then we are where we are.”
Cummins is at least boosted by the availability of Matty Blythe for the first time this year for tomorrow’s trip to East Hull.
Huddersfield prop Anthony Mullally returns after extending his loan spell until the end of the season and Adam Sidlow is also available again after illness.
Cummins said: “We’ve missed Blythey and it’s good to have him back.
“Adrian Purtell has been a good performer for us this year and Adam Henry came into form last weekend, so it’s going to be tough to drop Matty into the centres straight away.
“He’s got to earn that or the other two need to be off form – but that’s the kind of competition you want and Blythey can play back row as well.”
Chev Walker serves a one-match suspension and Luke George (hamstring) remains sidelined with Dale Ferguson (back) and Lee Gaskell (knee).
Jamie Foster has been suffering from illness this week but is hoping to be passed fit to face a Rovers side who have collected just one point from their opening five games.
Former Bradford stalwart Jamie Langley will also face the Bulls for the first time since leaving the club at the end of his 12-season spell last September.
Cummins said: “When Jamie started his career, Bradford was arguably one of the biggest clubs in the world, winning Grand Finals and World Club Challenges.
“He was a great influence around the club and that is still here now because you spend such a long time somewhere, your influence rubs off on the next generation.
“A lot of our younger players in their early twenties spent four or five years with him.”
Langley said this week that he would have liked to have stayed at Bradford but no agreement was reached and he headed east to Hull KR.
Cummins reasoned: “There are a lot of things you weigh up and you could probably say in hindsight that if I’d known we were going to lose loads of props, then maybe that would have been the way to go.
“Ultimately, however, I have to make a decision about what’s best for this club and they were the cards I had on the table at the time.
“You see some players who go to another club and they get a new lease of life. Jamie has started off really well for them.”
Cummins added of Craig Sandercock’s men: “They have played some tough teams but they scored some good tries at Wigan last week and had them rocking for a while.
“I thought the final score probably flattered Wigan, so they will be trying to get some kind of rhythm like the rest of us.”
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