JOHN Kear believes the hype around the Bulls this season will be much more manageable than in League One.

After a year as the big fish in the small pool of third-tier rugby, his side are gearing up for their return to the Championship arena.

Some impressive off-season recruitment will install the Bulls as one of the teams to watch and Kear sees a play-off place in the top five as a realistic target.

But the Bulls will not have to deal with the added burden of being the biggest club in the competition.

Kear said: “There’s got to be expectation on us. There will always be because it’s Bradford Bulls.

“But the greater expectation this year will be on the Toronto Wolfpack and the Widnes Vikings.

“To use a horse-racing analogy, we can just tuck in behind the leaders and wait for the sprint finish.

“The promotion odds on us last year were absolutely ridiculous. But I think we will be much more realistically priced this time and rightly so.”

Having marked a year in the job last week, Kear has seen the transformation with the playing resources now at his disposal compared with when he arrived at Odsal.

He added: “We were chatting about that in the coaching department the other day.

“The first training session I took, we had 21 players. Mark Dunning pointed out we only had two wingers, Josh Rickett and Ethan Ryan.

“Now we’re regularly having 30-plus players and, dare I say, higher-quality players at training.

“Look at the wing scenario – now we’ve got Josh Rickett, Ethan Ryan, Dalton Grant, Jy Hitchcox, David Foggin-Johnston and Rhys Evans.

“We’re really in a very good place but obviously we need to produce it once again on the playing field.”