ELLIOT Minchella and Ashley Gibson will not be risked for the Bulls’ final friendly.

The pair have been told to sit out Saturday’s Odsal clash with Toronto after picking up knocks in last week’s win at Batley.

John Kear wants to make sure that both are in the mix for the Championship opener against Featherstone a week on Sunday.

The Bulls coach said: “Ash Gibson suffered a dead arm and couldn’t get any feeling in it.

“Obviously we’ll have to adapt his training so he can recover from that. He won’t be considered at all for this Toronto game.

“But we’re very hopeful, probably about 80 per cent, that he’ll be available for round one – and that’s the important fixture.

“Elliot just had a slight calf strain. He’s going to be off his feet all this week so he’ll be doing upper body work etc.

“We’re looking after him – but he will definitely be available for Featherstone.”

Skipper Steve Crossley is lined up for a longer stint against the Wolfpack after successfully negotiating his first outing since shoulder surgery.

Kear admitted the sight of Crossley back in the thick of it was the highlight of last week’s Yorkshire Cup win.

“The big bonus point from a Bulls’ point of view was how well Steve Crossley went on Sunday,” he added.

“Steve came back and I thought helped turn the game for us.

“He played longer minutes than I expected him to. I didn’t expect Steve to be getting 30-35 minutes in his first appearance.

“But he did and he’ll obviously look to up his minutes when he plays against Toronto. Come round one, we’ll be used to the 55-60 minutes of Steve Crossley that we relied upon all last year.”

Crossley’s ability to play big minutes will be even more pivotal this season with the reduction in the interchange limit. Kear is delighted that the captain is ready to lead from the front again.

Kear said: “He’s an exceptional person and an exceptional rugby league player. For the group we’ve got, being a Bradford lad, he’s absolutely vital to us.

“It was great to win the Yorkshire Cup but Steve Crossley coming through that, from a selfish coaching point of view, that was a bigger thing for me.

“I had a great day winning the cup – but an even better day with Steve getting through it like that.”