HOMEGROWN Bradford Bulls player Brandon Pickersgill fears many of the club's brightest young stars will pack it in, after the club's academy was dealt a crushing blow on Friday.

Bulls have been left devastated after not being granted an Elite Academy Licence by the RFL for 2022-2027, plunging the future of some of the city's brightest young talents into doubt.

They have been told they cannot reapply for an Elite Licence until 2024, and while they want to keep some sort of academy and not abandon all their young talents, they are unsure at this stage how it could work going forward.

Reacting to the awful news, a heartbroken Pickersgill, Bulls academy product and current first-team full-back, said: "I'm shocked.

"These young lads have had a year off, only played their first game last week, then they hear this news. It's really disheartening.

"I wouldn't be surprised if many of them packed it in now, as they'll feel there's no light at the end of the tunnel."

Asked what the Bulls Academy did for him, Pickersgill said: "Without the academy, I wouldn't have been playing rugby league now, I can assure you.

"I came to the club six or seven years ago and I'm still here, and it's a great academy, with players dotted all over Super League from it.

"Without the academy there's not that stepping stone you need to the first team."

Despite being clearly shaken by the news, Pickersgill must now focus on Bulls' game at London Broncos in the Championship this afternoon.

He said: "London will be up there at the end of the year, no doubt, so it's a good test.

"They're one of the strongest teams and have hit their stride after a bad start, but we're four from five and feeling positive.

"We can't wait for the challenge."

The full-back was probably Bulls' best player in their last game, a 23-22 win at Swinton a fortnight ago, setting up two tries and scoring one of his own.

But he insisted: "It's always nice to score a try or set your mates up, but I'm not that fussed as it's all about the two points.

"A try isn't the be all and end all, as long as you're winning."

Pickersgill's day in Greater Manchester was cut short by a horrible-looking head injury he suffered towards the end of the game.

But he is all set to play this weekend as normal, saying: "It was nasty that, and obviously I was knocked out in the tackle and had to go off.

"But the week off has served me well, and I'm 100 per cent fit and raring to go, it was only really as a precaution why I had to be taken off anyway.

"We've had a few bumps and bruises as a squad, so it's been good to rest where possible.

"I hope we can be fully charged for London."