JOHN Kear believes his patched-up Bulls deserve credit for toughing it out on their return to the Championship.

Bradford are currently sat in mid-table after three wins from their first six games since promotion.

But Kear feels that only tells half the story as they battle through a string of key injuries early season.

READ MORE: Kear praises half-backs after Batley win

They still have half-back issues for tomorrow’s trip to Widnes and winger Jy Hitchcox is out for the bulk of the campaign.

Kear said: “We’ve done it tough. That’s why I’m absolutely over the moon with the players’ efforts.

“We’ve had different half-back combinations, we’ve had different combinations all over the field.

“I’m not saying if we had a fully-fit squad, I’d be satisfied to be three from six. But I’m certainly satisfied with that with the adversity we’ve faced.”

The Bulls ended a three-game losing run as they battled through the heavy conditions with last week’s 16-6 success at Batley. Kear can see the character within the group to deal with the setbacks.

“If you’d said before the season started and we had all our squad available, I would have been disappointed with three from six,” he added.

“The fact of the matter is we haven’t had a full squad, we’ve had all sorts of adversity to overcome and I think they’ve been great.

“We’ve faced it, we’re enduring it at the minute but we’ll come through at some stage and be better for it.

“I’m really happy with how the players are working hard, playing smart and improving. They are doing themselves justice on the field of play in the Championship.”

The Bulls’ first trip to Widnes for five years pits two former world club champions against each other.

Having been saved from administration by their recent takeover, the Vikings are looking to knock off the 12-point penalty with four wins out of five.

Kear said: “It’s a club with great tradition and we don’t like seeing clubs having problems like that.

“I hope that they come through it the other side and re-establish themselves on a firm footing in the long term.

“In the immediate term, they are our opposition tomorrow and they are a formidable one.

“Despite the money problems, they’ve still got people like Hep Cahill, Harrison Hansen and Anthony Gelling still running about for them – absolute quality players who are rewarded appropriately.

“Although they had the points deduction, they’re back to minus four already.

“They are quickly wiping the slate clean and I think they will fancy themselves with a late run.

“It’s going to be a tough old game on a very fast surface, which is a complete contrast to the last two that we’ve played.

“The conditions will hopefully be much better for playing and watching and it should make for good, expansive, open rugby league.

“A win for us would be a massive achievement should we get it.”