GEORGE Flanagan has handed the Bulls a pre-season boost after learning that he will be back from his ban earlier than expected.

The feisty hooker missed the final three games of the 2019 campaign as part of his eight-match suspension for his “attack to the testicles” on Toronto’s Hakim Miloudi.

He expected to sit out the opening month at least of next season – with the fixtures due to be released on Sunday.

READ MORE: Clear view ahead for Flanagan

But Flanagan has been told by the RFL that he can knock off two games from his lengthy ban in the Bulls’ four warm-up outings.

Flanagan said: “I spoke to the RFL a few weeks ago and they said you could take off two friendlies.

“Obviously, the Challenge Cup starts a little bit earlier this year as well so that will be another one.

“It’s not too bad and I’ll be fit and ready for whenever my ban is up.”

Flanagan is keen to repay John Kear’s faith after recently signing a new one-year deal and admits he must step up as one of the most experienced members of the squad.

“The thing is with rugby league that some seasons you’ll have some great players and then you get ones when they aren’t there any longer,” he added.

“It’s something we have to deal with as a group.

“I’ve spoken to Steve Crossley a hell of a lot and obviously we’re two of the older heads in the team.

“It’s up to us to rally round these young kids and encourage them to take the chance when they get it and do themselves justice.”

Flanagan can also offer know-how of their new temporary home at the Tetleys Stadium after playing a season for Dewsbury in 2012.

He said: “It’s a great little club, to be fair. It’s well run and Mark Sawyer is a decent bloke.

“He’s done a great job in turning Dewsbury round.

“The facilities are outstanding. They didn’t have that 4G pitch at the back to train on when I was at Dewsbury.

“It was a bit of a ‘dog poo’ field. There was always water standing on it.

“But the lads are just looking forward to starting rugby again. Whether we’re playing at Dudley Hill or Dewsbury, as long as there’s a field to play on.

“It’s a good tight ground and hopefully we can fill the stands up now that a bit of positive news is coming about.

“You get 1,200-1,300 Dewsbury fans in there and the Bulls obviously have a lot bigger support.

“If we could get 2,000 to 2,500 in there, the atmosphere will be electric. Hopefully that can push us on and we’ll see where that takes us.”