ODSAL will hold the key to the Bulls’ ambitions of filling the vacancy in next year’s Super League.

The prospect of a return to the top flight after a six-year absence has excited fans after the club confirmed they have thrown their hat in the ring.

The Bulls are one of seven who are expected to officially apply to replace Toronto in 2021 alongside Leigh, Featherstone, London, Toulouse, Halifax and York. League One Newcastle are not likely to follow up their initial interest.

But getting back to the big time earlier than expected, while a real incentive for everyone, is not the be all and end all. Playing again at their spiritual home is the overriding priority.

Talks are gathering pace with the RFL and council for a Bulls return to Odsal – with chief executive Mark Sawyer citing a possible move by Easter.

The Bulls, like the other contenders, are waiting for details from Super League outlining the criteria for a successful bid to become the 12th club next season.

Each club feel they have their own merits for a strong case – Toulouse and Leigh the recruitment and playing structure, London the most recent Super League experience, Featherstone just missing out on promotion to the Wolfpack in the last Grand Final.

Bradford clearly have the fanbase to dwarf the rest of the competition as well as a storied history in producing Super League talent through the academy; something that has not slowed despite the decline of the last decade.

But without a concrete guarantee that they will be back at Odsal again, it is hard to see the selection panel opting for a team with no proper home to call their own.

“Undoubtedly we’ve something to offer to Super League or we wouldn’t have bothered applying,” said Sawyer.

“There are a lot of good applications going in. You can see there is strong competition out there.

“We haven’t been told yet but I would imagine the feedback will be we must be based in the city.

“We have renewed negotiations in the past few weeks to try to deliver a deal in one form or another for us to get back to Odsal.

“All parties want the club back in Bradford. It’s our aim to get back, hopefully around the April time.

“We’ve not got a deal in place yet but whether or not there’s a chance of playing in the Super League or not, we want to get back to Odsal and I think there’s a will there for it to be done.”

Super League’s decision is expected to be announced next month – giving the lucky recipient less than three months to prepare for life in the elite.

Rival clubs would welcome the potential financial boost from the Bulls’ travelling support as and when crowds can attend once more.

But Sawyer insists that fan-power is not the only tick in the box for their bid.

“Another major attraction to Bradford is the development system and the number of players that have been produced for the competition.

“I would imagine we’ve produced the best part of 100 players from our youth system since 1995. There won’t be many clubs who have produced more.

“We’ve also got that terrific crowd base and over 10,000 Our League members which just shows the interest in the club and the potential number of people who could buy a season ticket and attend matches.

“But we’ve got to give a solid undertaking that we can get back to Odsal. At the moment, we’re not even playing within the city.

“We’re fully aware of the costs and there are a couple of sponsors looking at helping us with the refurb.

"There’s a lot of goodwill out there. Whichever division we’re playing in, we’re going to push the boat out to try and get back.”