THE Bulls have opened contract talks with the squad as they look to draw up a playing budget for 2021.

John Kear is keen to nail down as many of the current players as he can after recently committing his future to the club for the next two years.

The Championship remain hopeful of being able to resume their suspended season at some stage – with the growing possibility of playing in front of crowds again.

The most likely plan is for the campaign to carry on from where it left off in March with teams facing each other once and then the play-offs.

That would mean a minimum of nine league games for the Bulls, who had won two out of their first four outings when the action was halted.

But Kear and chief executive Mark Sawyer are also starting to look further ahead with personnel discussions getting underway for next year.

“We’re trying to get figures together for setting a playing budget for next season,” said Sawyer.

“We’ll hopefully be meeting at the beginning of July for that because we need to move forward as soon as possible.

“We want to renew players’ contracts where we can and maybe bring in one or two new signings.

“We’ve just started talking to our current players. John has got one or two in mind that he wants to bring into the club.”

The Bulls would love to be able to keep Rowan Milnes beyond his season-long loan but appreciate Hull KR want to blood him on the Super League stage. That will leave a big hole to fill at half-back.

Sawyer added: “We’ve got to remember is that Rowan Milnes isn’t our player.

“It was part of a deal with Hull KR that we kept him for a year. But they see him as potentially a starting half-back in Super League.

“I think everybody will wish him all the best when it comes to the time when he gets that chance.

“The club couldn’t get there quick enough if there was a chance of him signing an agreement to stay next year.

“But at the same time, he’s an exciting player and Tony Smith has made it clear he is high up in his plans.

“We’ve only played a few matches this season but he’s shown his commitment for the Bulls. He clearly cares a lot for the club but, at the same time, it’s very difficult to hold back a lad with so much potential.

“Realistically-speaking, we’ve got to prepare for the worst. If we’re fortunate enough to keep him, we’d love to but we’ve got to wish him all the best for an opportunity in Super League.

“So, there is potentially a slot there where we need to find a new player.

“John thinks we might need to bring two or three in if we can retain the squad. But everybody’s working hard to try and make it possible in very difficult times.”

Sawyer has been encouraged by Kear's appetite to get back to work once the lockdown has eased enough.

"John is really fired up. We are having conversations every day about what his plans are and we’re keen to resume training as soon as possible.

"We were initially hoping we might be able to start in July but that’s not going to happen. We are very hopeful we’ll play a few more matches but that’s in other people’s hands."