Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sunday's Coming: Bradford Bulls

OK Hornets - are we Ready, Ready?

Due to work commitments, the preview's a bit early this week - not that we haven't written plenty already in advance of Sunday's game.

After last weekend's flogging, Bradford will be looking for an improvement on their frankly shambolic effort against Wigan (check out the video).  Not enough that Wigan jogged to an easy win, Bradford shipped 14 increasingly soft penalties - that's one every 340 seconds.

Always nosey, TLCRF80mins went for a root around their fans forum to see what their supporters thought and, by far, the most eyecatching comment was the Bulls had some time to rectify their many wrongs because 'next week is basically a week off'.

Now I'm not sure how a supporter of a team routed by a half-pace Wigan could talk about the ease of any fixture and certainly behind the scenes Bradford are taking this one pretty seriously.

The road to Wembley starts at Spotland!
Francis Cummins' desire to succeed in the Challenge Cup has already been noted, and in his programme notes for Sunday's game against Wigan he wrote: "The draw for the fourth round of the Tetley's Challenge Cup  was relatively kind to us, pairing us with Rochdale Hornets at Spotland. It is a competition we really want to do well in and we will be preparing for that game just as hard as we do for a Super League game. Rochdale will have nothing to lose and will give it all they've got and we need to be very professional in how we go about the job. On the plus side, we have some players coming back from injury which will be a big boost to our squad ahead of the Challenge Cup…"

And one of those returning is Ex-Hornet Michael Platt, whose game against Wigan  was his first back after injuring his Medial Ligament at Hull on February 10th.

Also speaking on the Challenge of the Cup in the League Express this week was Bulls Hooker Heath L'Estrange (whose most noteworthy career achievement to date was to captain Newtown Jets between 2006 and 2008).

"We were pretty happy with the draw. (Hornets)… are a good side with a great coach and I'm lookin forward to playing them. It can be a bit dangerous not knowing too much about them and there are often nerves going into games like that… we certainly won't be taking it easy against Rochdale because Franny is not that type of coach. A few guys have been playing with some niggles for the last few weeks,so if they're not right they may not play, but anyone who is fully fit will be playing."

Hornets also got a mention in the Bulls programme feature on their former academy international forward John Bateman: "… the cup draw has been kind, with a tie at Rochdale hinting at squad rotation and the blooding of some more youngsters waiting in the wings. (Bateman) 'We might get the chance to give some of those desperate to be given a go a run, but you can't take anyone lightly. We want to do as well as we can in every competition so we won't be seeing them as underdogs, just the next challenge. It will be massive for them.' "

And he's right. It is massive. A fantastic opportunity to benchmark our progress as a team and a club against one of the biggest names in the game.

Excited? You bet!

See you Sunday - and bring a friend or two!