JORDAN Lilley has thanked John Kear for helping the Bulls keep calm and carry on through their toughest times.

With the new Championship season just a fortnight away, the club have come out the other side of a turbulent few months.

Basing themselves at Dewsbury, where the Bulls get a first taste of it in friendly action against the Rams this weekend, may not be the ideal scenario.

But Lilley is happy to be just talking rugby again after the financial follies that threatened to drag the Bulls down once more.

There is a more solid base about the club now following the change of ownership.

But it is the constant presence of Kear at the helm that has been the most reassuring for one of the squad’s key players. Having someone fighting for them who has been there, seen it and done it in the game convinced Lilley that things would come right.

“I just have a lot of trust in John and what he’s doing with the club,” said the half-back.

“He was a lot to do with why I signed at Bradford. He’s been very good with me.

“I spoke to him a few times and he said they’d got it all covered and things would be sorted. Funnily enough, they all are now.

“He just kept everyone calm and we do our jobs.

“There were some games last year where the lads could have quite easily gone off the rails and not put it in because of what was going on behind the scenes.

“We were a tight-knit group and John got us all together. We did it for ourselves and for him.

“We didn’t want to go out and be a disappointment to ourselves. Everything was going on but we wanted to show that we were better than that and we gave it our all.

“The new owners have been brilliant with the players. We don’t have to worry about other things like before.

“We can just focus on what we’re paid to do and that’s play rugby. We work hard on the field and they deal with everything else.

“The club is in a good place now and we can go into this year feeling confident.

“We still want to push and get into that top five. If we’re not aiming to be up there, then we don’t have any expectations.

“We’re doing everything we can to achieve that.”

With no Odsal, making the Tetleys Stadium their own fortress will be crucial to those lofty ambitions.

The friendlies with Dewsbury and York are vital sighters before the real action begins with the visit of promotion favourites London Broncos.

Lilley added: “Moving out of Odsal for Dewsbury is a bit of a change.

“It’s not the biggest pitch so we need to adapt to that because we’ll be playing there all year.

“It will be good this week to play on there and get used to the surroundings.

“We’re professionals and need to cope. We can’t take four games in until we’ve adapted to our own pitch.

“We’ll do everything we can and I’m sure come the first game against London we’ll be ready to go.

“You look at our run and we’ve got a tough opening to the season. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You want to test yourself and see where you are against the best teams.

“We’ll be up against one of the favourites in that first game against someone who’s just come down from Super League.

“We’re going to have to be 10 out of 10 that day but it will show where we are as a team.”

The Bulls gave an encouraging demonstration of that in last weekend’s emotional outing at Headingley.

While the spotlight was rightly firmly on Rob Burrow during Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial game for Leeds, Bradford’s efforts in the game did not go unnoticed.

Lilley was proud to be part of the occasion for his old club – and encouraged by what he saw around him.

“It was brilliant to see all those people turn out for two great blokes. The fans made it a really special day.

“It’s one that I will always remember and to share the field with some of those great players was such an honour.

“We got something out of it as a club and saw where we’re at and where we need to be.

“Leeds were full strength bar a couple of players and obviously Luke Gale pulled out last minute. But it was a good marker for us and I felt we held our own for the majority of the game.

“We’ve got a really young side this year, real energetic and we showed that. We’re still not perfect and nowhere near our best yet but we’re slowly building to that.”