JOHN Kear is close to finalising the Bulls team who will kick off their promotion-chasing campaign in League One.

The Odsal chief reckons there are four spots up for grabs for the season opener at York City Knights on February 18 – and this Sunday's final friendly against Keighley Cougars could decide those.

Yet Kear is confident that the competition for places within the squad will ensure nobody can get too comfortable in their starting jersey.

He said: "It drives standards up if you're looking over your shoulder knowing somebody is ready to take the shirt off your back if the training ethic drops a little or playing performances aren't good enough.

"That's what we feel we're doing at this moment in time. Not having that competition is the worst scenario. It was one of the areas that I was made aware of when I came in to the club and I think we have addressed it.

"There's competition there throughout every position. We're trying to make sure the standard of performance stays high."

With a fortnight in between the last two warm-up games, Kear has focused training on ruck defence and carries to generate quick plays. He admitted there was still "plenty to do" after the 34-0 loss to Toronto ten days ago.

Kear said: "If Keighley, York and London looked at that, they'll have been thinking 'we quite fancy our chances against the Bulls'.

"There's a lot of improvement in us. We will improve and start the season as well as we can.

"But I'm convinced we'll get better as the season goes on. We've got some good players now and I feel we're coming along very nicely.

"I've got 13 of the 17 in my mind for the first game. The selection for Keighley might be to solve the other four.

"We'll look at the type of team we're going to turn out against Keighley and the number of minutes people have played."