THE TOUGH physicality is all on show again this week as we dust ourselves off from our Halifax defeat, and John Kear and his young team prepare to reload and go again. Unfortunately the cup quarter-final saw young half-back and play maker Rowan Milnes added to the casualty ward with a broken leg after 35 minutes, adding to a tough close loss.

It is the reality of a brutal combat team sport.

Unfortunately the mid-week hit-out against Barrow for our fringe first team players and academy stars in the 1895 Cup also claimed another three leg injuries.

We are waiting on the medical reports and x-rays, but it reinforces issues such as player work load and rotation, as JK rested the entire playing group from the Halifax loss.

Certainly Bulls doctor Donald Young and head physiotherapist Matt Duke, along with the rest of the football staff, are going flat out to put our squad through its recovery and rehabilitation protocols in time for our home encounter against Batley Bulldogs tomorrow.

Jy Hitchcox, Rhys Evans and Joe Keyes are all progressing on their return to play rehabilitation programs, so we look forward to their inclusion very shortly.

Every team in the Championship will battle to keep players fit as we move towards the play-offs, with just 12 games of the regular season left.

The table is compressed, with just two points separating positions fourth to eighth. The standard has been extremely high, and I think in general, the fans can see how close this will be as no less than eight teams are genuinely challenging to make the top five play-offs.

It is something we are now totally focused on.

Batley sit in ninth and have proved a dogged outfit to overcome on our two trips this year to Mount Pleasant.

We won both these encounters, in the hard fought Yorkshire Cup clash in January, and in the March clash which we edged 16-6.

Batley will fancy themselves having beaten Halifax 24-16 two weeks ago - a reminder to everyone that this club, led by chairman and Bulldogs stalwart Kevin Nicholas, won’t be coming to make up the numbers.

We expect all these games to be tough and close, and we must stay fully-tuned for every second. As our Halifax loss showed, a momentary lapse in concentration and effort or sheer desperation can be the difference between winning and losing.

JK says the margins are so thin it might all come down to a single instance in a game. Entertaining for the fans, not so good for the health of the coach or owner!

JK knows what to expect, having spent a few years at Batley. We anticipate another nail-biter and need our BullsNation of fans to help lift the boys up another level.

Every opposing team knows how daunting playing at Odsal is and, as I’ve said before, they universally dread the 'Colosseum' style atmosphere. So don’t hold back, you know that your Bradford Bulls team will be giving everything.

Bring your partner, your mates and the kids, and get along to support and cheer your Bulls team at Odsal. Kick off is Sunday, 3pm.

Tickets are available in the club shop or online at #COYB #BullsNation #BrotherhoodOfBulls

Finally, on a sad note, I want to extend our condolences to Kevin Nicholas and his family on the sad passing of his wife Beverley last week.

Sporting rivalry aside, the greater rugby league family, and our Bradford Bulls club stands with you in this difficult time.