GEORGE Flanagan cannot wait for the Bulls to take the first steps back towards having a “good old slog” at the Championship.

The start of the season has been delayed until the Easter weekend because of Covid – with the Challenge Cup kicking off a couple of weeks earlier in March.

The Bulls will resume at their temporary Dewsbury base before the hoped-for return to Odsal planned for late May or early June.

Veteran hooker Flanagan admits John Kear’s squad are desperate to get back on the field after a year out – even if it will mean playing in front of empty stands to begin with.

Flanagan said: “Just to get back playing again will be great. That’s what the players are hoping for and all we talk about.

“The first step was to get back in training again with all the protocols in place. The club have been tremendous with the medical team and everything has been done right.

“Seeing the season-tickets go on sale was another massive boost and hopefully a sign that won’t be too long before we can get back to some kind of normality.”

The Bulls were pipped by Leigh in the ballot to take Toronto Wolfpack’s place in Super League for this year. But Flanagan is excited for the challenge of trying to earn promotion back to the top division the hard way.

“There’s a famous old saying that nothing is ever given,” he added.

“You have to earn the right to play in Super League by doing it the right way in the Championship.

“It’s about having a good old slog through the season to make sure you’re in contention.

“If you’re in and around the top of the Championship, you know you’ve got to be on top of your game week on week – and it will stand you in good stead if you are successful.”

The Bulls are doing minimal-contact training twice a week on Bradford Park Avenue’s 4g pitch at Horsfall while continuing to be tested at their regular Tong base.

They are waiting for the green light from the RFL to be allowed to step up to the next phase of more intensive preparation work.

Fans will be able to watch online when the games can resume.

Flanagan said: “Bradford’s support speaks for itself and we all know it’s one of the best in the game.

“We’re obviously going to miss that if we have to play the first few games in front of an empty stadium.

“It will feel very strange. It will be like a training session with the feeling of that environment.

“But as long as we can get back playing, it will be start. We’re all training and we want to play rugby for the love of the game.

“Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the fans are back and packing the stands again.”