JOHN Kear admits the Bulls’ injury hoodoo is the worst he has experienced in the game.

The coach’s hand is forced once again as he picks a side to face Leigh at Odsal tomorrow.

His sizeable squad remains stretched because of the casualty count – especially in the halves.

Stand-in duo Matty Wildie and Elliot Minchella will assume the pivot duties once again after Jordan Lilley failed to recover in time from his dead leg.

READ MORE: Bulls given injury boost

He joins Dane Chisholm, Rowan Milnes and Joe Keyes in the stand with the Bulls still forced to operate without a specialist in that position.

Kear admitted: “I’ve never known anything like this with regards to the half-backs, because they are so important to any team.

“They are the guys who orchestrate things in and around the park. They are your creative players.

“But as I’ve said, I’m really proud of what the players have dished up and how they have coped with this adversity.

“I think the crowd appreciate it as well. The ovation they got after the Widnes game really pleased me.

“They acknowledged the efforts and the quality that the players are putting in over that 80 minutes.

“Nobody has walloped us yet – we’re in there fighting and not far away even with adversity that we’ve faced.”

The knock-on effect meant that loose forward George Milton was pressed into half-back duties for the reserve win over Featherstone in midweek.

But Kear hopes that Milnes will not be far away – and is also looking forward to the timely return of Ross Peltier after the forward’s shoulder surgery over Christmas.

Kear said: “The smallest injury list we’ve had has been six. The biggest is 10.

“It’s interesting, shall we say, and we’re doing it tough.

“But we’re confident that Ross will be back in three weeks or so and he should be ready for Easter.

“Rowan Milnes is near but obviously (Jy) Hitchcox has gone almost for the season. Chisholm and Keyes are longer term as well.

“Get Milnes out there and Jordan Lilley back and all of a sudden you’ve got a half-back pairing.”

After the late frustration at Widnes last week, the Championship fixture list does not get any easier with much-fancied Leigh next up for the battered Bulls.

“I’m pretty proud of how they’ve handled it in a better division against some quality teams,” added Kear. “We’ve played some good teams in these first eight games.

“It’s a tough league and it’s not going to get any easier.

“You’ve just got to look down the list, we’ve still to play Toronto and Halifax. There are some challenges around the corner as well before we reach the halfway point of the season.

“At the minute, our focus is to get ourselves through this month and next, which includes the Challenge Cup and the Easter weekend.”