AS A bookmaker by trade, Mark Sawyer knows all about how the odds can fluctuate.

So, he isn’t paying much attention to suggests that the Bulls are “favourites” to land the 12th spot in next year’s Super League.

The club are still working their way through the extensive application pack that must be delivered by a week on Monday.

It is still unclear whether the seven-man independent panel will also be asking each club to take part in a video interview when they can ask further questions.

The boxes that must be ticked have already been made public by Super League and range from stadium capacity, season-ticket numbers and average attendances to what work clubs do in the community and their sales and marketing plan for 2021 and beyond.

Leigh, Toulouse, York, Featherstone and London have all confirmed they are vying with the Bulls for the vacancy left by Toronto Wolfpack’s departure.

Chief executive Sawyer is quick to play down any talk that Bradford could be frontrunners. But he does expect them to score well in several categories.

“I know when it first came out that people were suggesting Toulouse were favourites,” he said.

“It happens in many contests. Somebody comes to the fore and then it changes the next week.

“When you look at the actual criteria put forward in terms of picking a team, Bradford clearly are top of the pile in some of those areas.

“We’ve probably more of a chance than what some others thought. We clearly have something to offer – it wasn’t just a case of applying for the sake of it.

“But at the same time, I can see other teams have got a great chance. Some of those are stronger in areas than Bradford.”

The wording in the application that the panel will have “absolute discretion in the weighting of the assessment criteria” has raised inevitable talk that the Bulls will be favoured because of the potential support they can bring home and away when crowds are finally allowed back to games.

The cynics suggest the contest has been skewed in favour of a club who have not been in the top flight since 2014 - and were facing financial oblivion three years later.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone is not involved in making the decision but he has pointed out that the size of fanbase will be a key consideration - something where the Bulls hold the trump card.

Asked about the transparency of the process, Sawyer added: “I’d like to think that it is.

“We certainly entered it on the basis neither thinking that we’d got no chance nor that we were a certainty. There are some excellent candidates to be promoted.

“We’ve got an academy and hybrid system, where we are part full-time. It would be maybe easier for us to adapt for the needs of Super League than some other teams.

“But we’re certainly far from taking it for granted – and I can guarantee we wouldn’t be upset if another team’s chosen. We’d understand why any of those other clubs were successful.”

But there is an added urgency in terms of the current TV contract which expires at the end of next season. There are already fears about what might happen next for the Championship.

Sawyer said: “There are all sorts of reasons that you’ve got to apply any the size of any TV deal from 2022 is uncertain at best.

“Nobody under-estimates the task of a team going up and expecting to stay up – whichever club is chosen.

“You’re on the back foot on the basis of the lower distribution (£1 million paid out in monthly instalments over the year) and recruiting players at the last minute. It’s going to be a performance and a half for somebody to finish up the division.”

The priority for the Bulls remains a return to Odsal next season. Playing Super League matches there would be the cherry on the cake.

More meetings took place this week about going back as momentum continues to build.

“It’s not a case of us going in with our eyes closed and we’re just coming back for the sake of going into Super League.

“There’s a lot of hard work being put in and a number of people are looking at contributing, whether it’s sponsors or even the stock-car racing.

“The club will have to contribute but what is clear is that we won’t have to find all the money. There are people keen to get us back and sensible discussions are taking place.

“The opportunity to be in Super League has come out of nowhere. We’re working hard to get back to Bradford and I'd be disappointed if we're not at Odsal next season."