JOHN Kear feels the Bulls have finally had chance to catch their breath after a non-stop schedule since Easter.

The nine-day gap between the Newcastle game and Sunday’s trip to Hemel – with a blank weekend to follow – has come at just the right time for the Odsal coach.

He believes the lingering effects from the double-header at the start of April and a couple of shortened weeks since has taken the edge of some performances.

And he hopes the squad will be able to reap the benefits now of an extended period on the training ground.

Kear said: “The games have been coming thick and fast since Easter. This is the first time we’ve really been able to catch our breath and do a bit of extra conditioning and contact work.

“It has been good and it’s something that we’ve needed.”

With no game on June 3 on Challenge Cup weekend, the Bulls players can look forward to some bonus free time – after Kear has put them through the mill first at Tong.

“I’m going to give the players a little bit of time off,” he added. “But they are also going to get a higher-intensity week before that.

“It’s time to draw breath and take stock and then reassess and look forward.

“I was speaking to our head of strength and conditioning recently and said that I didn’t think we’d recovered from Easter yet.

“I do now but up until we played Newcastle last weekend, I think it had been there.

“Us and Hunslet were the only League One teams to play Good Friday and Easter Monday and then we had a short turnaround to Workington.

“That might have impacted on our performance in Workington but I certainly feel it’s had an effect since then.

“We’ve looked a little tired and disjointed in stages in games. That might in part be down to that.

“It will be good to step up the hard work. But also, over the blank weekend, the players will get four days off so hopefully they’ll come back refreshed and rested for the rest of the campaign.”

Dalton Grant was last night handed a one-game ban by the RFL disciplinary committee after being sent off at Newcastle for punching. But the Bulls winger will be available to play this weekend.

Meanwhile, Reiss Butterworth has joined Championship Batley on a month's loan.