JOHN Kear hopes his old club Sheffield Eagles get the home they deserve as they move back into the city.

Sheffield face the Bulls at Odsal on Sunday in the second of five warm-up games before the new season.

The Championship club are also getting ready to move in to a new permanent base in the Olympic Legacy Park.

It is on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium, which was demolished in 2013, and where they played under Kear – who steered them to Challenge Cup glory 20 years ago.

He said: “It was a great playing surface but too far away from the ground.

“Obviously the new stadium is on the site but it’s specifically for rugby league.

“I think it will be great should it come to fruition and it’s looking like it will.

“It’s so important they are back in the city. Sheffield should play in Sheffield like Bradford play in Bradford.”

The Eagles played their home games at Wakefield last season and have lived a nomadic existence in recent years.

But Kear insists coach Mark Aston, his Wembley-winning scrum half in 1998, has not been fazed.

“He just copes with it but that’s Mark,” added Kear. “He is very phlegmatic and doesn’t get ruffled easily.

“He’ll get stuck into his players if he doesn’t think they are performing. But he looks at the bigger picture and not the immediate problems and crises.

“I think it’s going to come good for Sheffield and I’m certainly hoping they get this new stadium with the state-of-the-art facilities. The people at the club really deserve it.”

Kear and Aston locked horns in the World Cup in Perth two months when the Sheffield man’s Ireland beat Wales 34-6.

The Bulls boss is expecting another testing encounter at the weekend as both sides build up for the real battle.

Kear said: “Mark’s a big mate of mine and I’ve known him a long time.

“I’ve worked with him in a very successful manner – he won the Lance Todd Trophy after all – and I’ve also coached against him many times both at league and international level.

“He’s a smart cookie. I know what he’s about and what he values in a team and they will certainly challenge us.”

“I’ve said it from being appointed, Odsal is still a special stadium for anybody to play at.

“Whether it’s in the Championship or League One, that always makes it an occasion.

“I think this will be a step-up from the Halifax game. They obviously had some good players but it was very much an experimental side, whereas I think Sheffield will be much more of a representative team.”

Oscar Thomas is set to make a quick return to Odsal after joining Eagles.

Last season's leading points scorer for the Bulls has joined Mark Aston's side on a one-year deal.

Scotland international Thomas will team up with former Bradford team-mates Iliess Macani and Jon Magrin, who will line up against their old club in the weekend friendly.