JOHN Kear will send out the Bulls in friendly action tomorrow with the message: Show me why I should pick you.

Bradford step up pre-season tomorrow with a clash against Championship club Sheffield at Odsal.

With five weeks to go before the League One curtain-raiser at York, Kear wants to see his players staking a claim for leading roles.

"The competitive edge comes from the very fact that all our squad are trying to fight for starting positions in that York game," said the Bulls coach.

"If that's not enough to spur them on, keep them on their toes and make sure they're ready for the game tomorrow and the other trials, then I'm not sure what is.

"If they are going to play against York, they have to demonstrate they understand what we are trying to achieve and show a commitment for the cause."

The presence of three former Eagles in Kear's side will add a bit of spice to the first of four warm-up encounters before the League One opener on February 18.

The Bulls coach, who led Sheffield to Challenge Cup glory 20 years ago, said: "Elliot Minchella will be really looking forward to it because he featured prominently for them last year as one of their better players.

"Matty Garside is another. I know he went to London in between but he was instrumental in the Sheffield Grand Final success in 2013.

"I wouldn't say there are some lads looking to put one over their old team. But I'm sure they will certainly want to perform well enough to make Sheffield think perhaps they wished they'd clung on to them."

Liam Johnson also played 20 games on loan for the Eagles last season.

Kear intends to swap things about to look at players in different roles – and joked he will be copying the example of Claudio Ranieri, the 'tinker man'.

He said: "We're slowly piecing a game-plan together. It was a very basic one against Halifax, with the emphasis very much on defence.

"We're just adding a little to that and I'm hoping to see evidence the players have understood what we're after.

"Obviously we're switching Ash Gibson to the right, and Liam Johnson played in the centre before, but we'll stick him in the second row to see if he adds something there.

"Reiss Butterworth and Liam Kirk, who were on the bench last time, will start.

"It's just a little bit of tinkering, a bit of 'Ranieri-ing' if you like, to make sure we've got the right 17 when it comes to mid-February.

"We're still going with a squad of 23, so there will be plenty of changes as we get the right minutes into people.

"Whereas you start with some of the bigger men getting 30 to 40 minutes, we might look to put that up to 40 to 50 and gradually build it up."

Odsal will get their first glimpse of new winger Alex Brown from the bench. Dalton Grant will start on the flank with Josh Rickett, who impressed Kear with his performance on Boxing Day.

Sheffield will feature three familiar faces from last season after Oscar Thomas joined on a one-year deal on Thursday. The Bulls' top points scorer from last season follows Iliess Macani and Jon Magrin to Mark Aston's club.

Winger Macani admitted it was a difficult year at Odsal because of the off-field turmoil.

He said: "It was a very turbulent season at Bradford. They were really tough times. It has helped me have a new view on life and a better drive in terms of my career."