JOE Keyes is set to hand the Bulls a timely eve-of-season lift by playing the full game against Keighley on Sunday.

The half-back has been restricted to just one brief run-out in the pre-season after the knee injury he suffered playing for Ireland in the World Cup in November.

Yet coach John Kear is confident that Keyes is ready to feature at Odsal in the weekend's final friendly as the countdown to the first game of the League One campaign against York begins.

Dane Chisholm, the other half of the Bulls first-choice pairing at six and seven, will miss out again though and is questionable for the Bootham Crescent curtain-raiser.

Kear said: "Joe had 15 minutes against Dewsbury and his knee felt quite sore after that, so we left him out of the Toronto game.

"But he has trained really well and I can't see there being an issue with him starting.

"He's a genuinely fit lad anyway and hopefully we can get 80 minutes out of him. That will be a massive bonus for us."

The Bulls had cautiously targeted Keighley's visit for a potential return for Chisholm, eight months on from his season-ending injury at the Summer Bash.

But Kear insists they are not willing to take any risks, considering the length of time the Aussie has been out.

"We've got to be realistic with regards to Chisholm's long-term injury," said the Bradford coach.

"He's seen the consultant again and he's happy with what's going on – but he's also urged caution. The bigger picture is the correct course of action.

"He's trying to get out there for the York game. Whether that's such a big game that you can risk anybody who's not confident in themselves and their body, I don't know.

"There are all sorts of imponderables but hopefully some will be cleared up this coming weekend against Keighley."

Centre Ross Oakes will also be absent again. He is still troubled by the hamstring problem which ruled him out against the Wolfpack.