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Bradford Bulls: Mick Potter relishing Headingley humdinger
Mick Potter believes the Bulls are a coming force in Super League as they bid to cut deadly rivals Leeds down to size tonight.
During a season in which the Bulls have flirted with financial ruin, they have emerged as a respected power on the field.
They head to Headingley on the back of three straight wins and in sixth place, although they are expected to be hit with a six-point penalty for entering administration today. That would not necessarily spell the end of their play-off hopes, however, and as negotiations continue after the ABC consortium submitted an offer to buy the club, Potter expects his men to rise to the challenge again on the field.
The Australian, who is currently working without pay, guided the Bulls to victory at Headingley last season and again at Odsal on Good Friday.
He said: “Leeds can beat anyone in the big games and have showed that over the last few years.
“They’re in the Challenge Cup final and that’s off the back of beating one of the best teams in the league in Wigan last weekend.
“It was a great game to watch and if I was a betting man I’d have put my money on Wigan to win the game. But Leeds are in a rich vein of form at the moment and they’re going to be tough to beat. It will be no easier on Friday, given their form and given they know how to win.
“They play for 80 minutes and are a very fit team but our players will be ready for it and we’ve prepared accordingly.
“We’re an improving team and have made significant progress this season.
“Like I’ve said before, I’d like to finish the job we’ve started here.”
Potter is no stranger to rugby league’s most ferocious fixtures in England and Australia.
Bradford versus Leeds is certainly a fixture to increase the heartbeat, according to Potter.
“Some of the NRL games in Australia are vicious and that’s how they can get over here as well,” said the former St Helens boss.
“Wigan versus St Helens and the Hull derby are pretty fierce rivalries.
“The Leeds-Bradford derby on the field is right up there but the banter among the fans is perhaps a little more restrained.
“That’s the way it should be. They’re enjoyable games and the banter is in good spirit.”
Potter also paid tribute to Leeds after their decision to allow Bradford to keep all the proceeds from the tickets they sell.
The Bulls normally receive 10 per cent of profits from tickets sold from their office but will get all the money raised.
Potter added: “It was a fantastic gesture from Gary Hetherington and the Leeds club.
“They didn’t have to do that but they understand the importance of Bradford being in Super League.
“I’d love to see Bradford back at the top of Super League but with this situation we’re in, we just want to survive.
“Survive first and then rebuild. It’s not going to happen in 12 months.
“It’s going to be a slow process and I hope the fans understand that.”
Tonight’s game could prove to be Potter’s penultimate game in charge after he revealed earlier this week that he cannot afford to work for free beyond the end of the month.
That could mean next Sunday’s trip to Warrington is his final game in charge but a takeover from the ABC consortium could yet see him reinstated in his old job.
Potter, who has already met with a member of the ABC consortium, said: “I just want Bradford to be successful, whether that’s staying in Super League or winning their next game or retaining players; I want to help the club.
“I’m not sure what capacity that’s going to be in in a fortnight’s time.
“I’ll just keep doing my best for the Bulls while I’m here.”