Bradford Bulls coach Cummins on how Salford will react to sacking (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins on how Salford Red Devils will react to sacking of Brian Noble
Provided London Broncos do not produce a minor miracle and win at Wigan, the Bulls will wipe out their points penalty and climb off the foot of the table if they claim victory tonight.
It is a huge incentive as they face a Salford side struggling for any kind of consistency and in turmoil following the sacking of Brian Noble.
The former Bradford boss was replaced as head coach by Iestyn Harris seven days ago and seems certain to reject the opportunity to stay on as director of football.
So it will be Harris, the former stand-off so controversially brought back to rugby league by the Bulls in 2004, who will take charge of the Red Devils this evening.
Current Bradford chief Francis Cummins played with Harris at Leeds and feels Noble, who guided Salford to victory at Hull last Thursday in the Challenge Cup, was harshly treated.
Cummins said: “As a coach, of course I think it was harsh, but it’s a funny old business isn’t it?
“You do your job but you’re employed by people who might not know the game better than you but are in a position to take you out of your job.
“You’ve got to feel for Nobby because everyone in the game knew that if you bring in 16 new players then it’s not going to happen overnight.
“Reading into it, and I’ve not spoken to Iestyn or anyone else at Salford, but you would think that some decision must have been made before last Thursday’s game.
“It could be a good time to play them but we don’t know the make-up of their squad in terms of how tight they are.
“There may well be some players who have been sold a bit of a dream from Nobby and he’s not there anymore.
“But there will be other players who will want to prove to Iestyn that they should be appearing in the starting line-up.
“It has either unsettled them, because Nobby signed all the new players, or it has galvanised them because they want to put on a show for the new boss.”
Although the likes of Rangi Chase, Gareth Hock and Adrian Morley are set to feature for Salford tonight, momentum in the Bulls’ camp is growing.
An improved display against Widnes and a thumping win over Oldham has been followed by the return from injury of Matt Diskin, Adam Sidlow and Lee Gaskell.
The new-found depth to the squad has not only seen Danny Bridge and Tom Olbison miss out altogether this week, it has raised standards among Cummins’ players.
He explained: “I’ve dreamed about having these kind of problems and now I’ve got them it’s not easy.
“You have to pick the team as fairly as possible and it’s a big test of the players’ character about how they react if they do miss out.
“I’ve had to speak to a few players who are really under pressure.
“Maybe they will get the nod this week but they’re going to have to be top drawer because there are some people missing out.
“That’s really what you want; those sort of headaches and you want the lads to respond because of it.
“If one facet of your game is down then there is a chance that you won’t play the week after against Leeds.
“That’s where you want to be and we’ve been striving for this since the end of last season.
“We’ve just got to keep improving because we’ve got the players and you can feel the momentum growing around us.”
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