BRADFORD Bulls’ play-off hopes may be hanging by the thinnest of threads, but head coach Mark Dunning got the answers from the players that he wanted after the 30-4 defeat at Barrow on Sunday.

That fourth successive Championship defeat leaves the Bulls nine points behind the Raiders, who are in the final play-off spot, with just seven rounds remaining.

However, Dunning reflected pitchside at Craven Park: “The darkest hour always comes before the dawn, and it is feeling very dark at the moment, but my big plus is that we have just had a chat in the changing room and everybody is committed to each other to turn this around.”

There is though a lot of uncertainty around the club at the moment as there will be a big turnaround of players during the close season.

Dunning admitted: “Confidence is low at the moment - as low as I have known it in all my time at the club - and there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

“You can ask players not to read things as many times as you want but they are human beings and they do.

“There are going to be players leaving the club, some of whom have already been announced and some of them that we are aware of that haven’t been announced, and there is going to be a rebuild.

“That is our job and everybody who is going to be here next year’s job and it is something that we are on with and working tirelessly to get some good news out there.”

He didn’t blame a lack of focus for the shabby display, however, saying: “I don’t think that there is a lack of focus, and you have seen enough character and effort within the group here to make everyone believe that we will come through this.

“It is hard and I feel for the fans who have made a long trip, and I think that they have seen enough commitment and character.

“We just have to do the fundamentals of the game a little bit better and try and eradicate that fear factor.

“We need to get back to allowing players to express themselves and just be patient in what we are trying to achieve and trying to build.

“We need to let the game-plan take care of itself rather than people trying to do things and make things happen.”