DANE Chisholm reckons his half-back pairing with Jordan Lilley is giving Bulls coach John Kear plenty of food for thought.

The duo have been at the hub of the two wins to open the new season and will be in tandem once again at Sheffield.

Joe Keyes is not ready to make his comeback from his on-going back issue so will sit out the reserves friendly clash at Hunslet this weekend.

And the Ireland international could face a fight to stake his claim for a first-team starting spot when he returns to fitness.

Chisholm said: “Keyesy has been working as hard as he can to get back on the field.

“I’m feeling for him. He’s had a back problem for a while now.

“He’s getting all the proper work done for that so hopefully he can be back as soon as possible.

“But we’ve got me and Jord right now and we’re doing well together. We’re working on any little plays we can and string a few games together without Keyesy.

“We’re going to be as good a partnership we can until he comes back and then it’s up to John to pick who plays.

“Having all the competition is just going to make everyone play better and we’ve got that in every position in the team.”

Chisholm felt he could have played better in the win at Swinton, admitting that he “didn’t get out of second gear.”

Recap: Bulls: Security of long-term loan helps Lilley

But the Aussie feels he is getting back to the top of his own game after a challenging 2018 returning from a nine-month absence following knee reconstruction surgery.

“Last year was a tough one physically and mentally,” he added. “I got rushed back pretty quickly to get in to round two.

“It takes a lot to get your fitness back and to be out for that long, I don’t think people realise how hard it really is.

“I just focused on having a really good pre-season and I’m feeling as fit and strong as ever.

“I’m happy where I’m at quite now but there are a few things I can still improve on.”

The Bulls are preparing to head into their second game in five days when they make the trip to South Yorkshire. But Kear insists the short week so early into the new season is not a problem because they have the resources to cope.

He said: “I don’t mind. If we were in Super League, it would happen frequently – and that’s got to be our aim.

“Yes, it will be a short week before Sheffield but then we get a bit longer before York. It’s swings and roundabouts.

“When the fixture list is drawn up, we’ll play whenever we’re supposed to and we’ll get on with it. Whether it’s Easter Monday, Good Friday or a Friday after a Sunday game, whatever.”

Meanwhile, Ashley Gibson is set to make his comeback from injury for the friendly at Hunslet's South Leeds Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

Like Keyes, Callum Bustin is not ready yet, while Dalton Grant is expected to be out for another couple of weeks.