Dale Ferguson is eyeing a return to action in Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie with Oldham as the Bulls close in on a new signing.

Ferguson has been hampered by a persistent back injury since pre-season and his only appearance for the Bulls so far was in the friendly defeat to Castleford on February 2.

Following a recent operation, it was thought the Scotland forward would be sidelined for several months but his rehab has progressed far better than anticipated and he could feature this weekend.

The close-season signing from Huddersfield said: “I’m training fully with the squad and am back lifting weights that I was doing previously, so fingers crossed I could play on Sunday.

“It would be a good opportunity to get some time under my belt and then hopefully I can kick on for the Super League game against Salford the week after.

“It’s very positive because at first I thought I would be out for ten weeks but now, three weeks later, I have knuckled down and I’m feeling good.

“It’s probably been the most frustrating period of my career because I wanted to come here and prove myself to everyone.

“But hopefully that’s all behind me now and I’m pretty confident that it is.

“I’ll do my best if selected by Franny this weekend – I’ll rip in and give my all because I believe in these boys and I’m sure they all believe in me.”

Head coach Francis Cummins confirmed yesterday that he was “very close” to adding to his squad, with a prop in his sights.

But he will be forced to make do without on-loan duo Anthony Mullally and Danny Bridge on Sunday.

Neither player has been granted permission to play by their parent clubs and Tom Olbison is suspended, but Jamie Foster is fit to return and Cummins could hand opportunities to youngsters such as Adam Brook and Sam Bates.

The Bulls coach said there was a prospect of Liam Sutcliffe returning to Odsal for another loan period, although fellow stand-off Lee Gaskell is on course to be available to face Salford next Friday.

Cummins, who won the Challenge Cup as a player with Leeds in 1999, said: “Dale is back in full training and we’ll make a call on him towards the end of the week.

“He’s ticked every box so far and that’s really pleasing.

“I wouldn’t rule out Liam Sutcliffe coming back on loan, so we’ll see on that one but he’s benefited from being here.

“The good news is that Lee’s not far away at all – his brace is off his knee and he’s looking in really good shape. He could be in contention for Salford next week all being well.”