IT HAS turned into a longer Christmas break than Bulls had planned, and head coach John Kear has admitted that the cancellation of his side’s Boxing Day clash against Halifax has thrown pre-season plans out of kilter.

Kear is currently on a short holiday with his wife, and while many of his players have been busy grafting hard in their day jobs this week, some had a special sporting treat lined up.

The Bulls supremo said: “The players deserve a Christmas break, which they were all going to get after the Boxing Day game until January 3 anyway.

“They have families and jobs, and some have even gone down to watch the darts at Alexandra Palace.

“But if we had been able to get the game rearranged, and us and Halifax had gone with this weekend, we’d have called the players back in early.”

It is a blow for Kear, who had planned to ensure that all of his squad members would get rested for at least one of the four scheduled friendlies.

But with only Batley, Hull and Leeds on the calendar now, Kear admitted: “It could be three games out of three for some of them now.

“We’d earmarked certain players to have three games initially for specific reasons, especially the new lads.

“But we’ll have to sit and re-evaluate all that now, with our plans being thrown out of kilter.”

Kear is meticulous with his planning when it comes to pre-season, having been through so many during his long career as a head coach.

And Halifax, like Batley, Hull and Leeds, were not drawn randomly out of a hat when it came to deciding upon Bradford’s opposition for their friendlies this season.

Kear admitted: “It is frustrating to see that Fax game go.

“We felt it would be a good test to face them and Batley, as they were both big rivals of ours last year up in those Championship play-off spots.

“The two games together would have been a great benchmark to see where we were at currently.

“Hull and Leeds being Super League opposition, the idea is that we’ll be playing opposition that should be better than what we’ll be facing in the Championship.

“They’re two teams who should be stronger than us, and again it gives us an idea of what we’re capable of.”

Asked about the impact of missing out on crucial revenue from the Halifax fixture, Kear said: “We’re fortunate in the sense that our other three friendlies are all at Odsal too, so we’re just hoping that people will come to those instead.

“What we can do as a team is put our best foot forward and try to entertain and inspire the fans at those games, to give people belief in what we’re doing.”

Losing the Fax game to snow was a blow given that both teams had worked hard to avoid it being called off due to Covid.

Kear said: “The lads were looking forward to having a game again and people were going to play that had earned their opportunity.

“We’ve been scrupulous in our testing and have been doing it at every training session, so we did everything we could on that front to try and make sure the game was on.

“The fans will have been rightfully disappointed to see the match called off, but nobody was more gutted than myself and the players.”