MARK Dunning insisted at Thursday night’s fans’ forum that Bulls still have a real pull, and confirmed that ex-Super League players and their agents had been in touch about wanting to come to the club next year.

He said: “We call it silly season and any player near the end of their contract, their agents are looking to fix them up for next year.

“I’ve spoken to every agent in game and there’s no shortage of offers for players to come here.

“I will keep names confidential, but an agent from France rang this morning, and one from Australia last night, both offering ex-Super League players to come to the club for next year.

“So there are still Super League quality players who want to come here.”

And Super League was represented in the application process for the head coaching role that Dunning was eventually awarded, two-and-a-half months after the departure of John Kear.

Club CEO Jason Hirst said: “99 per cent of the applicants were currently in the professional game at other clubs, including Super League, Championship, League 1 and various levels from Australia.

“All were experienced, with some bigger and more well-known names than others.

“People applied and said it had to be in strictest confidence, as they were working at another club and they didn’t want them to know they’d come to Bradford Bulls, and I looked them in the eye and said they had my word.

“I had to ring and turn them down. But they might want to be back here in a year, two or three, and if I tell fans and the press who they are, I’ve lost that relationship with the person and the club.

“I’d be surprised if those people applied in future if I broke their confidence.”

Dunning’s work with the academy was a factor in his appointment, and the man himself reserved high praise for youngsters Bailey Arnold, George Flanagan Jr and Myles Lawford, confirming that the latter two have officially been promoted to the first-team squad.

But Hirst admitted that Bulls need to continue to push their Friends of the Young Bulls initiative.

The club are seeking 500 people to donate £10 per month to the academy, generating £60,000 per year.

But Hirst admitted on Thursday that only around 50 people had signed up so far.