JOHN Kear will willingly take the stress and strain of a challenging week if the Bulls can upset the odds at Featherstone.

Danny Brough’s long-term absence has been compounded with loan withdrawals and Covid issues ahead of their toughest Championship fixture of the season on Sunday.

Kear has not only had to deal with losing the experienced figure who makes his team tick but also another four players are out of contention.

Three of the four recent loan signings are back with their parent clubs and the Bulls will be missing Dan Fleming again.

Huddersfield duo Ashton Golding and Olly Wilson have been recalled as a precaution after the Giants reported seven positive Covid tests.

And winger Mitieli Vulikijapani, who missed the Newcastle win with a sore rib, returned to Hull KR earlier this week as cover for injured Josh Griffin.

Fleming, suspended last week, has been forced to self-isolate after being picked up on track and trace from the café he owns in Halifax.

Kear, who has recalled winger Reece Hamlett from Swindon, admitted preparation to face unbeaten Fev has been a headache.

But he said: “My job is to keep that stress and the problems on my shoulders and make sure we come through the other side.

“All I want the players to do is prepare for Featherstone and I’m sure they will.

“We are stretched but we accept that and it doesn’t affect our confidence. We’ll still turn out a very good team.

“We’ve got Sam Hallas back who was brilliant in his first game and will obviously benefit from that.

“He’s quality, he’s aggressive and he’s a leader. He does make a big difference.

“We’ll also have Ben Evans back after he was sat out with his groin problem.”

Kear appreciates the Bulls are at the mercy of the parent clubs with short-term deals and has no argument with any of the withdrawals.

“Obviously the Huddersfield game against Wigan was called off with Covid issues and I totally understand that they’ve brought Ash Golding and Olly Wilson back to make sure that they isolate within their club bubble and are available for next week.

“With Mitch (Vulikijapani) at Hull, they suffered a number of injuries in the (Challenge Cup) semi-final so they’ve brought him back to cover the three-quarters.

“Both teams have every right to do that with their players. There’s no falling out, it’s where the game is.

“They are paying the wages, so you tend to find they have first call.”

The Bulls are forced into a reshuffle at half-back with Brough now out for at least three months after surgery.

Kear has ruled out finding a replacement before the game and said: “We might decide to play a little differently.

“It’s all up in the air. It’s been a difficult week for everybody but we’ll just crack on and do the best we can.

“It is going to be all hands to the pump but it’s a situation that we will relish.”

Second-placed Fev, like the Bulls, are on a seven-game winning streak. They backed up their 100 per cent Championship record last week by booking their place at Wembley in the 1895 Cup final.

Kear added: “I’m not surprised by how well they have done because they have quality throughout.

“They’ve spent a fair bit of brass and spent it soundly, I think, and they will be up there with Toulouse.

“We also hope to be up there amongst it but we’ll find out on Sunday whether or not we are.

“Featherstone are down on some numbers as well as evidenced by bringing in Will Dagger from Hull Kingston Rovers on loan.

“It will be an interesting game and a very competitive one and we’ll certainly go out there and give it our all.

“Although we’re missing Broughy and there have been people called back from loan, we’ve still got a really good group of players who will take the field wearing the red, amber and black of Bradford.”