BRADFORD Bulls half back Jordan Lilley is delighted John Kear has signed a new two-year deal to remain in charge, and says he sees no reason why the club can’t be ambitious and push for Super League sooner rather than later.

Lilley said Kear looked out for him and gave him confidence after he joined off the back of a trying time at Leeds, and the 23-year-old is now part of a young, thriving Bradford side.

He feels Bulls were written off at the start of the season, but that their efforts in the few games that did go ahead before the coronavirus pandemic struck showed they could be contenders for promotion to Super League.

Discussing Kear agreeing to stay at the club until at least the end of 2022 first, Lilley said: “When I first heard the news, it didn’t come as a surprise, as it would’ve been daft to let him go.

“It’s brilliant for the club and he’s already done some great things and signed some great players.

“He’s building the foundations for what could be a very good Bradford team over the next few years.

“We’ve just got to repay the faith as players now.”

Talking about Kear’s impact on him personally, Lilley said: “I was going through that rocky patch at Leeds, so John was fantastic when I came in at Bulls.

“He looked after me and gave me my confidence back to shine and get back to my best.

“I owe him a lot for showing faith in me and I’m excited that I’ll be with him for next year at least, as that’s when my contract runs to (2021). And then who knows further into the future?”

Bulls suffered the loss of key players like Ethan Ryan and Joe Keyes at the end of last season, but Lilley is optimistic that the current squad can still achieve great things.

He said: “You’d never sit there and say you’re not ready to go up to Super League.

“We’ve got ambitious people, like me, who want that challenge of playing at a higher level.

“I want to push more at Bulls and make a push for promotion if that option is there this season, if it gets going again.

“If you’re not trying to do that, it’s not very ambitious. I think we’re good enough to be there.”

Lilley added: “We lost some good players in the winter and a lot of people wrote us off to do nothing.

“The (coronavirus) crisis hasn’t been ideal, but we had hit a bit of form

“I think we lost our first couple, but we finished up just missing out in those games against Featherstone and London.

“We were inches off getting the wins and could have got them, but little things didn’t go our way.

“Then (after beating Oldham and Sheffield), we almost caused another upset in the Challenge Cup against Wakefield.

“I think we’re in a really good place and we have a very young team too.

“We’ve got a young half-back partnership in me at 23 and Rowan (Milnes) at 20 for example, and we have young players everywhere.

“People might look at that as a negative, asking whether we have the experience to close a game out for example, but we’ll learn that the more we play.

“We’ve got some good experienced heads in there too anyway, with the likes of Anthony England, Steve Crossley and George Flanagan.”

Lilley has been keeping busy during lockdown with his business venture, Lilley’s Fitness, even if the gym has had to move virtually everything online.

He said: “The business is going from strength to strength. Obviously the virus closing us down was a shame, as we’d only had the unit from September or October and it means we’ve not really had money coming in since February.

“But I’ve been able to start my personal training and one to one sessions in parks again.

“And the other pros are we’ve been able to pick up new clients, and maybe others from before that hadn’t heard of us.

“Anyone still wanting to join can just get in touch with me through the Lilley’s Fitness Facebook page.”

It has been about far more than just pumping iron and working up a sweat for the 23-year-old though.

He said: “All the online stuff is free, it’s just our way of saying thanks to people for sticking with us.

“On a Wednesday at 6:30pm and a Sunday at 3pm we hold a workout on our Facebook page and there’s a quiz on Facebook Live from 7:30pm on a Monday.

“On a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, me, my dad and my brother host a Facebook Live show called ‘3 Lilleys & a brew’.

“It’s particularly for those people who are alone and this just gives them something to watch as part of their routine.

“We might only have 20 or 30 people watching, including my grandma, who is on Facebook.

“Even if just helps one person get through all this (lockdown), that’s a good enough reason for us to do it.”