BRADFORD Bulls Reserves head coach Mark Dunning is looking forward to his side getting their season underway against Hull FC on Saturday - insisting it will be a ‘big challenge’ for his squad.

With Hull likely to name Super League regulars, Dunning is under no illusions over the test that awaits his young team which boasts the likes of Harry Shackleton and Sam Smith.

With both having had impressive pre-season campaigns, they will be looking to continue their form into the reserve season and will hope to push their way into first team contention.

Dunning said: “I’ve been delighted with the people who’ve come through in pre-season, really put their hands up and have been given their opportunity to play in games.

“Hull will be pretty strong all the way down and it’ll be a pretty tough challenge, but one we’re looking forward to.

“Myself and John (Kear) have told the players on numerous occasions, if you’re playing well you’re in with a shot.

“They’re all ready to go and hopefully put a marker down against tough opposition.

“We’re content with our young squad as they’ve come through our system, so we know all about them and they know what we’re looking for.

“We’ve set some challenges for the players and it’ll be interesting to see how they come through that and how they stand up to these challenges.”

Alix Stephenson, Elliot Culling and Vytas Vaznys all made their first appearance of pre-season in the friendly at York last Sunday, which saw reserve players given a run-out as well as the seniors.

David Foggin-Johnston’s try gave the Bulls a slender lead before the side introduced after the interval maintained an advantage to seal a 6-4 success.

Dunning believes Sunday’s test will stand his youngsters in good stead.

He said: “I am delighted with the performance of all the players – we said at half-time the senior blokes set the standard and the younger lads needed to maintain that standard.

“Alix Stephenson went very well, Elliot Culling who has been back a couple of weeks is working hard to catch up, Matty Race went well and so did a whole host of others.

“There were a few errors and a few penalties given away but from a young side that is what we come to expect and we will look to eradicate them as the majority of that team gets ready for a tough test on Saturday."