THE Bulls have been to “Hemel and back” in recent years.

And just as their fortunes improve on the pitch, the turmoil continues off it as they prepare to walk away from Odsal.

Tomorrow’s opponents Sheffield have had to live a nomadic existence in recent years – but are on the way back as last weekend’s 1895 Cup final win over Widnes at Wembley signified.

John Kear believes they are timely proof of “coming out the other side” as his club step into the unknown with next year’s switch to a new “home” at Dewsbury’s Tetley’s Stadium.

And as both teams scrap it out to keep their faint play-off hopes alive, the Bulls coach underlined the progress his players have made regardless of whether they sneak into the Championship’s top five or not.

“I think of Hemel Hempstead and coaching a team down there in the middle of a park,” he said, referring to the Bulls’ 68-0 win in League One at the now-defunct Stags in May 2018.

“We could end up as the 20th ranked team in the British game should we come sixth. That’s some turnaround and a progression.

“That’s the perspective you put it in.

“When I was down at Hemel and looking around, I was thinking, ‘jeez, we shouldn’t be in a place like this’.

“But that was where we were at. Now we could end up ranked 20th if we beat Sheffield and I’ll be happy with that.”

Kear was at Wembley to witness Sheffield lift the inaugural 1895 Cup – 21 years after coaching them to Challenge Cup glory. He admitted it was a proud moment to see the Eagles fly high once again.

“It was lovely that Mark (Aston) managed to win, it was great that Keith Senior was on the coaching staff – and Blake Broadbent played in that team.

“He’s Paul’s lad and when we won the cup in 1998, Cindy, Paul’s wife, was pregnant with Blake.

“There’s all sorts of little tie-ups there and I was absolutely over the moon that Sheffield won.

“They’ve had some tough times recently. They’ve played at Wakefield, Doncaster, Owlerton dog track and at long last now things seem to be coming right for their stadium.

“Obviously it’s coming right on the playing front as well.

“It just shows that if you tough these times through, you hopefully emerge from the other side a lot stronger.”

Sheffield have won four on the bounce since losing 56-18 at Toulouse in mid-July to give themselves a play-off shot.

It may depend on what Wembley has taken out of them but Kear is preparing for the south Yorkshire side to bring their best game.

“I thought they were exceptional last week,” he said. “They played very well.

“Should they play to that level again, we’ll have a hell of a challenge on our hands.

“But you don’t know how people react to winning a cup and the aftermath of that.

“There’s bound to have been an emotional investment in that and a pretty big physical reaction as well.

“All we can do is plan and prepare for Sheffield to be as good as they were at Wembley. They’ve got some seasoned elite Championship players.

“I think Sheffield and York are probably the surprise packages – and Sheffield have got a piece of silverware on the sideboard already.”