THE Bulls want to retain George Flanagan’s services for next year – but remain powerless to stop him signing for another club.

The extrovert hooker finished the season on an eight-match ban for grabbing the testicles of Toronto full back Hakim Miloudi while making a tackle during the Wolfpack’s win at Odsal in August.

That suspension will carry into the start of the 2020 campaign when the Bulls hope to have the out-of-contract Flanagan back in their ranks.

But the current embargo imposed on the club by the RFL leaves them vulnerable to interest from elsewhere.

The Bulls are targeting nine winter signings to add to the 14 players currently under contract for next year.

John Kear has identified Sam Hallas and Flanagan among those as two he hopes to keep for the move to their new temporary home at Dewsbury.

But the on-going special measures while the RFL monitor the club’s situation and their financial forecasts mean the Bulls are blocked from doing any deals.

The Bulls continue to send detailed budget information through to the authorities as requested and are hoping the block will be lifted within the next couple of weeks.

But Kear is left sitting on his hands for now with regards to recruitment while Championship rivals are free to announce their new faces.

He said: “We’ve obviously spoken to people but you can’t do anything until it’s lifted.

“As I keep saying, I’m quite relaxed about it because there’s nothing more we can do. It is what it is.

“But hopefully it will get removed sooner rather than later.”

The 32-year-old academy product has scored 20 tries in 40 appearances since re-joining his local club from Hunslet in March 2018.

Flanagan has expressed his desire to stay put if the club made him an offer – and Kear hopes the lure of sticking with the team he grew up supporting will mean he is prepared to hang on.

The Bulls coach added: “You would like to think so.

“George really has enjoyed himself here and hopefully that will weigh in our favour.

“But all the players out of contract are entitled to talk to other clubs. If they agree something with one of those, we can do nothing at all about it.

“It’s difficult speaking because we are in limbo a little bit at this moment.

“If another club comes in for George and the deal is satisfactory for him, there’s nothing we can do to stop him going. All we can do is accept it and understand it.”

The squad are currently away on an end-of-season break.