BULLS head coach John Kear insists the integrity of the Championship is not compromised by the loss of five games, as he backed three West Yorkshire rivals to upset the apple cart this season.

A promotion spot to Super League is not guaranteed yet, though Kear is sure that will be confirmed imminently by the RFL.

Asked whether he thought going from a regular 27-game season down to 22 and not playing every team home and away was fair with promotion and relegation still on the table, Kear said: "It's never affected the NRL, and that's the greatest league in the world.

"Each team doesn't face one another twice and they fix the weeks and dates they want to play. It's all done with the Grand Final in mind.

"That's not designed for a home and away format, and at the end of the day, after 22 games this season, it will still be the best six teams in the Championship play-offs.

"We feel our pre-season schedule is good, there's been a real increase in intensity in training these last couple of weeks, and we're in good shape.

"We're ready for the challenge of the cup, but more importantly, that of the league campaign."

Bulls were hoping to be back at Odsal for the start of the season, but will still be playing a chunk of their "home" games out in Dewsbury, before a potential return to Bradford in May or June.

But Kear is not fazed by that, saying: "If you're a football fan like me, you'll have seen there's a lot more away wins without crowds.

"It's really difficult to create an atmosphere, it's like academy games, so I've told my players they need to create their own enthusiasm and motivation.

"With it being an empty stadium, it doesn't really matter if we're playing in Bradford, Dewsbury, Batley or Timbuktu to be honest."

Speaking of Dewsbury and Batley, Kear has tipped them to surprise a few people.

Giving a mini-season preview, he mused: "I reckon there'll be maybe nine teams going for that top six.

"One of my old clubs, Batley, often slip under the radar, and once again they've recruited well.

"They have a tough, aggressive forward pack, a couple of good halves, and have added some strike to their three-quarters.

"Dewsbury will do well too. If you look at their signings, they're going to be a handful, and even in that shortened 2020 season, you saw that they surprised a few people.

"Halifax have had a bit of a revamp and you could make a case for them being in the top six.

"Then obviously there's Newcastle, who we'll all have to keep an eye on.

"Watching them in League 1 I felt they were too good for that division and they've added talented players to the squad since promotion."