Luke Gale has declared himself confident of being passed fit for the Super League opener at home to Wakefield on February 3.
The Bulls scrum half is making steady progress in his recovery after undergoing surgery on his left ankle at the end of November.
He has been using a specialised anti-gravity treadmill to aid his rehabilitation and is optimistic about facing the Wildcats in what would be a major boost to coach Francis Cummins.
Gale said: “I’ve been out of the boot for over a week now and am slowly building my ankle up.
“The anti-gravity treadmill has been good because it takes all the pressure off your foot.
“It’s a top-quality piece of equipment and I’ve been using the facilities at Leeds Gymnastics Centre as well.
“Hopefully, with a bit of luck, I’ll be back for round one against Wakefield. That’s definitely my aim.”
New recruit Jamie Foster booted eight goals from as many attempts at Dewsbury last weekend and has spoken of his desire to become the Bulls’ designated goal-kicker for the season ahead.
But Gale, who kicked the Bulls’ goals last season, is not ready to relinquish the job without a fight.
He declared: “Jamie said I was happy for him to take over as goal-kicker – but not a chance!
“We’ll see in round one who Franny gives the vote to but obviously I don’t want to lose the kicking job. I want to keep it and have another good season.
“Firstly I want to get back playing for the Bulls and then hopefully get picked for England Knights again. It’s a big year, with the World Cup at the end of it.”
Gale and the rest of the non-playing members of the Bulls squad were in attendance at last Sunday’s opening pre-season friendly against Dewsbury.
The 24-year-old play-maker had made his first appearance in a Bulls jersey during last season’s win against the Rams at the Tetley’s Stadium.
“As a player you like these pre-season hit-outs because they help you to get into the swing of things,” said Gale.
“It’s disappointing that I’m missing this year’s two friendlies against Dewsbury and Leeds on Sunday.
“But I’ll keep on working hard in the next couple of weeks to get back in time for Wakefield on the opening weekend.”
Danny Addy and Jarrod Sammut combined effectively against Dewsbury, giving Cummins another potential half-back partnership should Gale fail to recover in time to face Wakefield.
Gale said: “Danny and Jarrod did really well on Sunday. I thought the team performance was outstanding but there are always a few little things to work on.
“With all respect to Dewsbury, Leeds will be a much bigger test this weekend.”