BRADFORD Bulls captain Steve Crossley has urged fans to keep up their fantastic support for the rest of the year.

Crossley returned to the side for the first time since recovering from a shoulder injury which required an operation.

His side's 14-12 win against the Batley Bulldogs in the Yorkshire Cup final saw the Bulls pick up some pre-season silverware.

Crossley said that his "lungs had got tested a little bit" during the match, but he was happy with his return overall.

He said: "Even in the past before when I’ve picked up injuries, I’m fairly impatient because I want to be on the field the next day again, but you’ve just got to let time let it heal and luckily I’m a month earlier ahead of schedule.

"But the shoulder held up really well on Sunday. I’ll come back in and check over with the physio, but everything feels sweet so far."

Crossley gave much praise to the fans at the game, with Bulls supporters turning out in force in a crowd thought to be around the 3,000 mark.

He said: "You know, some people will just call it a glorified friendly but there was still something to win at the end of the day."

He added: "The fans made it like a home game for us. All the supporters who come and cheer us on made it feel like a home atmosphere here and it was brilliant, so keep that support coming for the rest of the year."

The captain's performance proved his return wasn't just about testing the water, particularly considering this was a feisty affair between two neighbouring teams battling it out for a title.

Towards the end of the first half, Crossley made a thundering tackle on the Bulldogs' Keenen Tomlinson, who had to go off following the challenge.

Crossley said Bulls knew it was going to be a tough one and that not many go to the Fox's Biscuits Stadium and pick up a win.

He added: "Batley are going to be a really top team – they always have been. Like I say, not many teams come here and get a win and Batley are a team that are going to be up there in the table, so to get a win like that early on in the season, before it starts, it’s a good mindset for us now.

"We know where we’re at, we know where we need to be, so it’s time for us to go get there."

The Bulls have been installed as one of the early favourites to get promoted from the Championship.

Having already overcome York, Halifax and Dewsbury, Crossley believes beating four league rivals during pre-season has set the benchmark for the coming fixtures.

He said: "We’ve set some really high standards for ourselves and we’ve recruited well, obviously with us getting promoted back into the Championship, so we need to keep our standards high and know what we need to focus on.

"We’ve got an end goal in mind that is keeping us focused – it’s just about keeping on with it now."

Part of the route to this "end goal" will be the final friendly this Saturday, before kicking off the season at home to Featherstone Rovers on February 3.

Crossley said the plan is for him to get some more minutes at Odsal this weekend against visitors Toronto Wolfpack.

He added: "That’s what we’re going to be looking at, maybe more game time so we’re ready to fire, ready to go against Featherstone - that’s the big end goal in mind now."