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Let the fightback begin, says Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins
Francis Cummins has declared himself confident of guiding the Bulls to safety as they bid to kick-start a new era with victory at Widnes tomorrow.
Leeds-based businessman Marc Green bought the club out of administration earlier this week, ending months of uncertainty over their future.
With that stability having been secured, Cummins believes his players can now focus all their energies on climbing the Super League table.
The Bulls’ move into administration on January 31 saw them lose three key players and be docked six points but Cummins said the fightback could now begin in earnest.
The head coach, whose side remain on minus two points, said: “We’re not talking about relegation.
“We might be in a tough situation now but we’re certainly not talking about relegation.
“We’ve got to improve and we will, but we’re going to get there.
“You saw the fight in us at Hull KR – we were poor with the ball but to defend as we did shows we have not given up and we’re going to get better.
“There were a lot more smiles after what happened this week because it has given the players closure.
“They have been tremendous in training and we’ve not had any bad days when it’s been a wash-out because the emotions or anxiety has got to them.
“There have been times when we’ve had only one prop on the pitch but they’ve never stopped working hard for each other.
“I’ve got players who don’t want to leave – despite everything.
“I don’t know what else we could have done to them – you’re not getting paid on time and while some players have gone, most didn’t want to go.
“I’ve got people from other clubs saying ‘is it sorted yet? Are you after a player in this position?’ So I know we’re doing a lot of things right but we just need more numbers now.”
No new additions have been made ahead of tomorrow’s clash with an in-form Widnes side who have won four of their opening five games.
With skipper Matt Diskin and prop Adam Sidlow having sustained calf and ankle ligament injuries res-pectively at Hull KR last weekend, ruling them both out for around a month, the Bulls are again down to the bare bones.
But Adam O’Brien said he was ready to step up to the plate of being the Bulls’ starting hooker in the light of Diskin’s injury.
O’Brien, who performed admirably after replacing Diskin after just ten minutes last week, said: “I had to do a job in that middle and stick up for myself – and personally, I thought I did all right.
“I could now be the starting hooker but we’ve got young Nathan Conroy, and Danny Addy can play there as well.
“It’s a massive blow to lose Disko because he’s such an experienced player and has been there and done it.
“We need players in quickly but the morale among the squad and in training has been great. Even last week at Hull KR, the effort was there and we never stopped trying.”
Meanwhile, Liam Sutcliffe is keen to stay with the Bulls beyond his initial one-month loan spell.
The highly-rated Leeds stand-off will play his fourth successive Super League game for Bradford tomorrow and the loan is expected to continue on a week-to-week basis.
Sutcliffe, who has shown glimpses of his class in his three appearances so far, said: “I’ve really enjoyed getting some game-time here.
“It’s a bit hard to do stuff with the ball when you don’t see a lot of it.
“That’s when a half-back really comes into his own – to score tries or set up tries – but if we can complete our sets and get more into the opposition half, then I think you’ll see the best of me.
“I’d be comfortable with staying here or if Brian McDermott wants me back at Leeds, then I’ll do that.
“But the Rhinos have obviously got a lot of strength in depth and if I’m not going to get any game-time then it makes no sense me going back there.
“I just want to play every week, so I’d be more than happy to stay at Bradford and try and get 80 minutes under my belt every week.”
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