Francis Cummins believes the battle to avoid relegation will see a number of teams grow increasingly nervous as the Bulls bid to cause an upset in tomorrow’s Magic Weekend showdown with Huddersfield.
Two recent victories over Catalan Dragons and Warrington breathed new life into the Bulls’ campaign before last weekend’s thumping home defeat to St Helens, coupled with Wakefield’s second successive win, left Cummins’ men eight points adrift of safety.
Yet the Bulls head coach is remaining typically upbeat and has urged his players to focus on the task in hand heading into their clash with the Giants.
As the Bulls await the outcome of the appeal against their points penalty, due to be heard later this month, Cummins knows they must cope with the adversity which has seen his squad reduced to the bare bones again this weekend.
Although Luke Gale and James Donaldson are poised to return from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively, Manase Manuokafoa remains sidelined with a hamstring strain and Antonio Kaufusi is ineligible to face his parent club.
Cummins said: “We are nervous but there are a number of other nervous clubs out there too.
“Depending on where this points appeal goes, and us having had a couple of good wins, teams are looking over their shoulder now.
“Our main focus is just to get our job done right and if we do that we will put pressure on other teams.”
When asked about the pressure of trying to keep the Bulls in Super League, Cummins added: “It’s frustration more than anything.
“You can build the pressure up but you have to just look at the stuff you can control.
“You have to keep doing your best. Yes, we’re in a tough old position – but that’s no different to where we have been all year.
“You have to keep working hard and, as a team sport, eventually things will start to turn your way.
“We’ve got to show that commitment to one another but if you give a lot of ball away then you work twice as hard to try and put things right and you don’t stick to what your job is.
“That’s what we’ve seen at times. A lot of times, people aren’t underworking or taking short-cuts; they’re actually doing too much and trying to chase things when they don’t need to. We need people to stick to what they’re doing.”
With his side decimated by injuries, Cummins is wary of the threat posed by a Huddersfield side who are seeking a fifth straight Super League win.
The Bulls have won only one in seven Magic Weekend encounters since the concept was introduced – against Wakefield in 2009 – and were heavily beaten by Paul Anderson’s men 12 months ago.
Cummins said: “I’ve known ‘Baloo’ for a very long time, since I was about 13 at a Leeds camp and he was about 18.
“We chat and I’m always asking him for players, so we have a good working relationship.
“They were right at the top last year and there was plenty of focus on them. But I reckon they can do it differently this season because there is perhaps less pressure on them.
“It’s nice to finish top, and be the most consistent team, but if you get it right at the back end of the year then you can still become a champion side.”