THE Bulls are close to admitting defeat in their fight to make Sheffield play at Odsal this season.

The game should have taken place on August 8 but Bradford were contacted late on the previous Thursday night to say that it would be off because of the number of positive Covid tests among their opponents.

The Bulls have been desperate to rearrange an alternative date since - and settle the score from the opening-day hammering at the Keepmoat Stadium - but are running out of time if Sheffield refuse to agree.

There is no leverage now to extend the season after the play-off dates were rubberstamped by clubs last week.

The RFL have confirmed that they cannot force part-time clubs to play midweek dates because of their Covid protocols - even though the Bulls argued that it was not a long trip to make.

Salford Red Devils have been fined £25,000 – with half suspended for one year - for integrity breaches of the Covid rules which led to the postponement of their Super League fixtures against Wakefield and Hull.

But there is not the same stringent controls with part-time teams. Sheffield also called off a game against York, who the Bulls face on Sunday.

Steve Crossley returns from self-isolation for the club's first trip to York's new home but there are doubts over Aaron Murphy and Adam Rooks, who both came off during the Swinton game.