JOHN Kear has cheekily offered to pay for Super League supremo Robert Elstone to watch tomorrow’s table-topping Odsal showdown – to prove the lower leagues are in rude health.

The mouth-watering clash between the Bulls and second-placed York could prove a pivotal moment in the League One title race.

A bumper crowd is expected – and Kear would love Elstone to join them.

Super League have been accused of trying to marginalise the two lower divisions with plans to reduce promotion and relegation.

But Bulls head coach Kear insists that match-ups like tomorrow show the leading lights that the present system is working fine.

Kear said: “There is all this talk about structure and this, that and the other. But if Robert Elstone wants to come along, I’ll buy him a ticket.

“He can see that League One is alive and kicking.

“First of all, there’s a good standard of play and secondly there’s a great interest among the fans as well.

“I don’t offer to buy people tickets for anything but I’ll certainly get him one if he wants.

“It’s very exciting, not just for Bradford and York, but for the game.

“Both the Championship and League One are vibrant competitions this year. It’s a credit to everybody involved.”

The Bulls have a two-point advantage on York, who they edged in a first-day thriller in February when Joe Keyes landed the decisive penalty after the hooter.

Kear’s side head into the contest on a 12-game winning run but York, who have added Jack Ormondroyd and former Bulls loanee Josh Jordan-Roberts, almost came a cropper last week at London Skolars.

Kear added: “I was pretty pleased with how the fixtures fell. Newcastle and Hunslet made sure we kept our eye on those games because they were challenges within themselves.

“Only since Hunslet, have we really been able to zone in on York.

“James Ford may tell me I’m wrong but I think York’s focus for the past couple of weeks has been on us. That may well be why they nearly slipped up against London Skolars.

“You want Joe Frazier to warm you up for Muhammad Ali and we’ve gone through that.”

Knights boss Ford signed a new deal this week to become the club’s first full-time coach and Kear has been impressed with the job he is doing.

“His teams have always performed well. They cause problems when they’ve got the ball and they are very resilient and tough defensively.

“He is certainly doing something right by the evidence on the field.

“James is a very good coach and I think there are others as well at this level.

“I’m mightily impressed with Gary Thornton. We’ve played Hunslet three times and the team last week were much better than our first game – that’s the sign of a good coach.”

Kear believes that both teams on display have also upped their game since that ding-dong affair at Bootham Crescent.

“Somebody said to me that York are a better team than they were in round one,” he said. “That may be the case but I can certainly show them that we are better since then as well.

“We’ve got used to playing with each other. You’re trying to put systems and structures in here.

“First of all, the players have got to believe and buy into them and I think they have. Then they’ve got to pick up the little foibles and idiosyncrasies of each other and we’ve done that.

“This game has been in everyone’s minds at both clubs since the season opener. It has been a long time coming and a lot of work has been done.”