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Bradford Bulls: It's win or bust against Widnes Vikings, admits Mick Potter
Mick Potter admits there is no margin for error when Widnes arrive at Odsal tomorrow and has labelled the game as “must-win” if the Bulls are to claim a coveted top-eight finish.
Potter believes anything other than victory would effectively mean no play-off football for the fourth successive year at Odsal.
The Bulls were recently docked six points for entering administration and Potter knows collecting two points tomorrow is vital ahead of next Friday’s crunch visit of Hull KR, who currently lie four points ahead of Bradford in the final play-off position.
Potter said: “It is a must-win game this weekend.
“If we lose it we may as well forget about the 2012 season.
“This is a win or bust match – as they all potentially are.”
Widnes have struggled for much of the campaign and the Bulls recorded a comfortable victory at the Stobart Stadium on Easter Monday.
But Potter is wary of their threat after they showed signs of improvement in recent weeks and pinpointed Australian Rhys Hanbury as a key figure for the Vikings.
“Widnes have been going well,” added Potter.
“They’re progressing and are a team that is playing with a bit of confidence at the moment.
“It is a dangerous game for us. Widnes certainly don’t want to finish at the bottom of the table.
“They have a big, strong pack of forwards and Rhys Hanbury I think is an excellent player who really gets them around the park.
“He is elusive and has a good kicking game so will be one to watch.”
The protracted saga over the future of the crisis-torn side took a dramatic twist on Thursday afternoon when bosses of Super League Europe, with the backing of all 13 top-flight sides, submitted an offer of their own to the club’s administrators.
They stepped in amid growing fears that the club was facing liquidation after the Rugby Football League twice rejected offers from a consortium led by a group of Bradford businessmen because of the conditions attached.
But Potter, who is currently working on a voluntary basis, said the mood within the camp was generally upbeat as the Bulls gear up for back-to-back home games in the next six days.
He added: “It was still a little bit frustrating in that they wanted some finality.
“They wanted to know what was going to happen for them medium term and long term.
“When you are contracted, whether it happens one year or three years down the track there is always that uncertainty with your future.
“There are 25 to 30-odd guys who don’t know what their future is going to be after the end of the season. They just want that little bit more security if they can have it.
“They are still a little bit frustrated by the whole situation but I think they feel a little bit more comfortable with having the governing body and other Super League clubs supporting them.
“But, while there is still a bit of frustration, the players like playing rugby, they like getting out there and playing so I expect them to go out there and enjoy themselves and give the crowd something to clap about.
“Two points is what we want but we won’t focus on the two points we will focus on the job and that is scoring tries and stopping them.”
Meanwhile, chief executive of Leeds Rhinos Gary Hetherington welcomed the shock move, saying: “It is fully supported by all the clubs.
“The belief is that this would take the club out of administration, put the game in control of the Bulls and their destiny and give the executives time to try and find alternative owners, which the administrator hasn’t been able to do.
“It’s seen as a positive move to safeguard the future of the Bradford Bulls and hopefully the first step towards a bright future.
“There was a fear that the Bradford Bulls could be liquidated and disappear from the sport so this a move to prevent that and to take control of the situation.
“But ultimately the club does need new ownership and it needs people to come forward who are interested in taking on the Bradford Bulls into what could be a very bright future.”