JOHN Kear shares the growing optimism that the Bulls can still be involved in a meaningful Championship season in 2020.

The experienced coach, who earlier this week pledged his future to the club for a further two years, believes the second tier can emerge from the current shutdown to play again – possibly in September.

Super League have announced a potential August return and Kear is becoming increasingly hopeful that the Championship can follow suit.

He said: “I think there’s every possibility we will play in front of socially-distanced crowds towards the end of September and October.

“That will allow a competition where you play everybody once with a 13-game season and the play-offs at the end of it.

“I sense a lot more optimism throughout the game and throughout the Championship clubs.”

When the country was first placed in lockdown, Kear feared that the only matches likely to take place this year would be behind closed doors.

That is a scenario that Championship clubs are firmly against because of the huge financial hit they would suffer – none more so than the Bulls whose income stream is heavily reliant on game days at their temporary Dewsbury home.

But, safety permitting, the prospect of playing in front of reduced crowds within a few months could be a realistic one as the sport’s heads try to think outside the box.

Kear added: “You only have to look at some of the clever ideas with how people have changed their business model.

“I like going out to restaurants to eat and obviously that has been stopped. But a lot of those restaurants have suddenly become takeaways.

“You’ve to find an answer and we should be smart enough to be able to do that as a game.

“I’m not saying to play in front of packed stadiums but certainly socially-distanced ones. You could even do that with the Grand Final and still get 15,000-20,000 folk watching, which will make it a purposeful contest."

The Bulls had won two out of four in the Championship before the sport ground to a halt and Kear was hugely impressed with how close his side ran Wakefield in the Challenge Cup in their final game.

He agrees a shortened season later in the year should start from scratch – and still offer a promotion prize.

“I do think there should be promotion but I’m not so sure about relegation. I’d be comfortable if they did away with that.

“I think Super League should extend its boundaries by at least one, possibly two.

“There has been a lot of money, not at Bradford but from other clubs, invested in the Super League dream this year.

“To take that away from them would be a kick in the teeth after something which nobody could have imagined.

“There’s been a stark sense of reality brought home to everybody. What we’ve got perhaps isn’t so bad.

“It’s human nature to hanker after other things but sometimes you need something like this to remind you exactly what you’ve got and how fortunate you are.

“People just want to see us play and believe you me, we want to play.”