THE Bulls must switch to play-off mode a week early to clinch home advantage for the start of the knock-out stages.

John Kear insists that a win over Whitehaven is all that matters from tomorrow’s final round of Championship fixtures.

That will guarantee staying at Odsal when the play-offs begin next Sunday – whether they finish third or fourth.

But visitors Haven have their own incentive to claim a first win in Bradford since 1964 – which could see them gate-crash the play-offs in sixth.

The Cumbrian side have been in sensational form to close on London who occupy the final spot and would leapfrog them with victory and a Broncos defeat at York.

Kear said: “This is what sport should be like – it should go to the last day of the season.

“There’s a very simple message to the players. Win the game and we’ve got a home play-off – whether we finish third or fourth.

“That’s a big carrot for us but we also know that there’s a fairly big one dangling in front of the opponents as well.

“Should they win, it looks like they might get in the play-offs so it makes for a pretty tasty encounter.”

Halifax, who are third, host fifth-placed Batley – who would be next week’s play-off opponents for the Bulls as things stand. Wins for the Bulldogs and Whitehaven would see Kear’s men heading for Mount Pleasant.

“It’s a play-off game to get a home play-off – and it will get us in great play-off mode,” he added. “I’m looking forward to it.

“Whitehaven weren’t expected to get in the play-offs so I’m certain that they can just go for it. They’ve got a lot to play for but so have we.

“This is what you play for. It’s the here and now and we need to do pretty well.”

Kear stressed the Bulls have “drawn a line in the sand” with last week’s shattering last-gasp loss at Widnes which has left them still needing one more win to cement a home fixture to kick-off the play-offs.

“We’ve had very honest and forthright discussions about it. We are a team, so we’re going to look after each other and move forward.”

Whitehaven have lost only once in eight games to seriously threaten the top six. Kear has been impressed with Gary Charlton’s side.

“When we went up to Whitehaven, we got a lot of disgruntled voices saying that we’d let them back in the game at the end and it was only an eight-point victory.

“But I said at that moment that they are a good rugby league team and to go up there and beat them was a feather in our cap.

“The fulness of the season has shown that and we need to be respectful of the opposition.

“Whitehaven have earned that and their recent form with seven wins in the last eight has demanded it.”