JOE Keyes is finally poised to play his part in the Bulls’ play-off push.

The Ireland international has had a nightmare 2019 because of a prolonged problem with his back.

The half-back has not stepped on the field since pre-season – when the injury forced him off early in two friendlies.

READ MORE: Bulls root out Keyes back issue

But with Rowan Milnes facing a couple of months out after breaking his leg, Keyes is ready to be pushed into the fray.

He has been back in full training with the squad since last week and is being pencilled in for a comeback in the reserves against Keighley next Wednesday.

Jy Hitchcox could also feature in the Odsal game to give John Kear a further lift as the Bulls look to recover lost ground in their bid to reach the Championship play-offs.

“We’ve got to hold our nerve (with Joe),” said Kear.

“It’s 15 games in and you play 27 so there’s still a lot of the season left.

“We have to make sure that when he comes back, he is ready to come back for the rest of the season.

“In all honesty, we were thinking about playing him at Barrow.

“But we just felt that a three-and-a-half hour bus journey, then to play before another three-and-a-half hours home wouldn’t be any good when you’ve had a back injury.

“That was the reason we took that decision and I thought Cobi Green did a great job at half back. Brandon Pickersgill was great in there as well so there were lots of plus points.

“Hopefully Joe will be out and about next Wednesday, which will make it worthwhile coming down to Odsal to see how he and hopefully Jy and Ash (Gibson) get on.”

Gibson was pulled out of the 1895 Cup squad after failing a late fitness test on his ankle. Evan Hodgson was another withdrawal from the original 18 because of tonsillitis.

Milnes had an operation on his lower left leg on Tuesday and reported that everything had gone well.

Kear added: “We think he will be seven to eight weeks. He’s had a plate put into his leg to assist him.

“Rowan's in a pot at the minute but if he comes out of that into a boot after three weeks or so, that allows you to get a bit of movement and the blood circulating.

“We’re hoping that it will be seven weeks with him but the worst scenario will be nine or 10.”