CRAIG Lingard believes the recruitment of boss John Kear by the Bulls is "a marriage made in heaven".

The Cougars coach is preparing to lock horns with his mentor for the second time in a month, with points as well as local pride at stake.

As last month's friendly at Odsal demonstrated, no quarter will be given between the Bradford district neighbours in their League One showdown at Cougar Park on Sunday.

But having worked under Kear for four seasons at Batley Bulldogs, Lingard believes he has all the right attributes to lead the Bulls back to the big time.

"It is a marriage made in heaven and a really sensible appointment from Bradford," said the Keighley chief.

"They have been a bit up and down over the last few years and need a bit of stability and a bit of solidarity behind them. John will certainly give them that."

Kear already has a superb cv to his name yet Lingard believes restoring the Odsal club's fortunes would rank among his greatest claims – and possibly provide him with the perfect career swansong.

He said: "It is a great appointment for John as well. What he has achieved in the game is brilliant. He might be looking at this as building his legacy with the cherry on top for him to finish his coaching career off eventually.

"He's won Challenge Cups, he has managed international teams, he's coached in Super League. But if he could get Bradford Bulls back into the big time in Super League, I think he will see it as one of his biggest achievements in the game.

"I think what he wants to achieve there personally will drive everyone on to achieve it. To give him a three-year deal to help him get it over the line, I think it is a really sensible appointment from Bradford."

Lingard is now in his second season as head coach at the Cougars, having previously worked as Kear's assistant at Batley when, against all the odds, they achieved a top-four spot in the Championship in 2016.

He admits he owes a lot to the 63-year-old for helping him develop.

"Without a doubt, I've learned massively from him," said Lingard, who singled out his counterpart's attention to detail.

"He will look into minute things, which you might spot yourself and not pay too much attention to. Then you turn up to games or when he's doing a preview and he's picking up these little things.

"You are not sure why he is paying them so much attention and then you can guarantee that, come game time, the little things he has picked out, 99 times out of a 100 they will play a massively important part.

"I've learned from John not to let the little things go – to go with your instinct and if you see something then pick up on it and make sure you roll with it.

"The way he motivates people and his knowledge about the game is second to none.

"I've picked up a massive amount from him and he has made me a lot better coach and prepared me a lot better for being a head coach myself."