BRANDON Pickersgill has “no chance whatsoever” of playing at Widnes on Sunday according to John Kear, and he could be directly replaced by Elliot Kear at full-back.

On Pickersgill, the Bulls head coach said: “He had a severe back spasm because of the contact in the collision against Toulouse.

“The muscles spasm to protect your body in moments like that, and though there’s no long-term damage, he has no chance whatsoever of playing at Widnes.”

As for Welsh international Kear, who is finally available to play on Sunday after completing his firefighter training, his head coach said: “Elliot’s trained really well on the wing, in the centre and at full-back this week, so it’s just working out which combination is best to cover for Brandon’s absence.

“Elliot will certainly be in the 17, and it’s good, because having coached him for so long with Wales, I know what he brings to a group.

“I’ve signed Ben Evans, Ant Walker and Dan Fleming this season, having worked with them for Wales. They’ve all proved good signings, as I’m sure Elliot will too.”

Bulls head coach Kear said it was touch and go whether Danny Brough would start this Sunday, as he recovers from a hip issue.

He said: "Danny has trained well this week, but not fully, it's been gradual.

"At the moment, we can't promise he'll play, but I also don't want to dampen any hopes and say he definitely won't.

"I'm hoping as much as anyone that he'll make it for Sunday."

Brough is one of rugby league’s grand old men, as are Widnes forwards Paul Clough and Matt Cook, both former Bulls alumni.

The duo have spent around 15 years playing professional rugby league, largely in Super League, but are retiring at the end of this season.

Paying tribute to the pair, Bulls boss Kear laughed: “I wish they were retiring before the end of the season.

“They’ve both been great servants to the game, and achieved great things, you only have to look at the number of appearances they’ve made to see that.

“I wish them both very well in Widnes’ last game of the season, and for everything they do after that, but if they play on Sunday, obviously I hope they don’t do so well.”