Gerry Sutcliffe has given Francis Cummins a ringing endorsement and backed him to guide the Bulls into a bright new era in 2013.

Cummins was handed a three-year contract in September and his managerial methods have met with approval from honorary chairman Sutcliffe and club owner Omar Khan.

Sutcliffe believes the Bulls coach, whose squad returned to work today after their Christmas break, has harnessed the spirit which characterised the club during a traumatic 2012 campaign.

The Bradford South MP and former Sports Minister said: “Francis knows from his own experience of having to retire early due to injury that the career of a professional rugby league player doesn’t last forever.

“It’s a relatively short time in the spotlight and you have to maximise the time you have and do the best you can.

“Francis knows how precious it is and I think what he has said is ‘look lads, you can have a good time but if you invest in yourselves and do well it will stand you in good stead for the years that you’ve got in the game’.

“That’s a very strong message from somebody who has been through it himself.

“The spirit among the squad is evident and follows on from last year when the players and coaching staff did such a good job in difficult circumstances.

“That spirit has been harnessed by Francis and is continuing into the new season.”

Cummins has visited Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers during the off-season and is constantly on the look-out for new ideas and practices which may benefit the Bulls.

Sutcliffe added: “Francis’ whole approach is very thorough. We’ve got nutritionists and people looking at every aspect of things.

“The players have all had their eyes tested, they’ve all had full medicals and Francis has had them running up hills and mountains.

“Unlike the David Cameron version of ‘we’re all in this together’, here at the Bulls we really are all in it together and we’ve got to make sure that the club succeeds.

“They know that on the pitch they’ve got to deliver the goods to help us deliver the off-field stuff but you get that feeling of wanting to achieve from the players.”

Sutcliffe feels the club is re-engaging with the community again and added: “A few weeks ago the players met all the Provident employees in the city and it was just fantastic. They showed themselves to be great ambassadors and the Provident staff loved it.

“We’re determined to make this club part of the city and it’s working.”