BULLS head coach John Kear believes his side have come a long way over the last few months.

At the start of the season, with Jordan Lilley suspended and Danny Brough their only starting half-back, they were thumped by Featherstone in the cup and humiliated by Sheffield in the league.

They didn’t fare much better when Lilley was in there on his own against Fev in mid-June.

But a Joe Keyes-led side won well at Oldham in July, and with Lilley and the team coping admirably in the games this month at Halifax and Newcastle, have Bulls found a way to play with only one recognised half?

Kear said: “It shows we’ve grown, as individuals and as a team, and that we’re able to handle difficult circumstances much better now compared to the start of the season.

“Halifax and Newcastle we did really well with only one half and if you compare that to the similar situations at Featherstone and Sheffield, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was a different group of players.”

Bulls will have to cope without Brough once again tomorrow at home to Swinton, but there are some important players returning.

Kear said: “Dan Fleming and Matty Dawson-Jones are both in contention for Swinton and it’s safe to assume they’ll be playing as they’re both very good players.

“Brad England was sick last week, but he’s back too.

“There are a couple of negatives, as we’ve lost Ebon Scurr to a foot injury and Steve Crossley is having to isolate, as a close contact of someone who’s tested positive for Covid.

“Steve hasn’t got any symptoms, but with us having part-time players who are always at risk of this, there’s nothing we can do.”

On paper, Bulls should still have more than enough to comfortably beat rock-bottom Swinton, who’ve only won one league game all season.

But Kear’s side lost to them in pre-season and only won by a point in the away fixture back in May.

He said: “I’m surprised. I didn’t expect them to be bottom given the quality of individuals they have.

“Martyn Ridyard is an exceptional Championship half-back, but there’s others in their line-up who are very talented too, like Mike Butt, Rhodri Lloyd and Lewis Hatton.

“Ultimately it’s not my concern though, as I just need to prepare my side to win the game. We’ll need to put in a better performance than we did at their place that’s for certain.”