Potter focus remains on the field
Bradford Bulls coach Mick Potter insists it is business as usual as he prepares his team for tomorrow's clash at Stobart Super League leaders Wigan Warriors amid continuing uncertainty over the club’s future.
Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle, who is now in charge of the beleaguered Bulls, says he has just a week to find a buyer or he will put the club into liquidation.
Potter admits the latest twist in the financial crisis has proved a major distraction - the players held a meeting with the Rugby Football League this afternoon - but is hoping once they cross the white line they will focus on the match.
“Nothing changes for us,” he said. “The players know what they have got to do.
“We’re getting down to the business of preparing for a game tomorrow and they know what a tough assignment it is going to be against Wigan.
“The players are worried because they don’t know what's going to happen. I'm not going to blame the players if they are not totally focussed. I can understand it’s a distraction.”
The Bulls have lost just four out of 10 matches since news of their financial crisis broke in March and Wigan coach Shaun Wane expects them to once more put their off-field troubles to one side.
“It is sad what is happening there but I don’t think it will have any effect on them,” said Wane, whose side are back in action just four days after beating Widnes Vikings. “They may well have a siege mentality.
“Mick Potter has done a great job with all the disruption they’ve had and I’m sure they will turn up full of enthusiasm. I am expecting a very tough battle. I have watched their last five games and they have been impressive.”
The Bradford players sought assurances during their meeting with RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer and licensing supremo Blake Solly and have also met officials of the Super League players association, 1eagu3.
England and St Helens forward Jon Wilkin, who is chairman of 1eagu3, said: “As a Super League player, I understand the pressures that the Bulls players are under at the moment.
“My thoughts are with them at this trying time, as are all the thoughts of every other player in the 1eagu3 family.”
Wilkin’s thoughts will turn to his home-town club Hull KR tomorrow when they take on Saints at Langtree Park.
Rovers’ four-match winning run came to an end with last week’s nail-biting defeat by Catalan Dragons but they are still in the top eight and held Saints to a 36-36 draw at Craven Park in February.
“They’re in good form and that’s the main thing,” said Wilkin, who began his professional career with the Robins. “They've really improved dramatically in the last 12 months and are proving serious contenders for silverware this year.”
Saints, who were ninth in the table when coach Royce Simmons was sacked in March, have lost just two out of 11 games under Mike Rush and victory tomorrow would lift them up to third and strengthen their hopes of making a seventh successive appearance at Old Trafford.
“We’ve started to believe that we can win something this year,” Wilkin added. “The fans are behind us now and that’s a massive thing for us.”
Warrington Wolves have forward David Solomona and half-back Richie Myler poised to make their comebacks against Salford City Reds at Barton tomorrow.
Veteran second rower Solomona has yet to play this year after breaking a leg on the club’s pre-season trip to Australia while England half-back Myler has been out since April after undergoing a hernia and abductor operation.
Youngster Gareth O’Brien has seized his chance in Myler’s absence to put together a 10-match run in the first team and will not automatically lose his spot, according to coach Tony Smith.
“We will give opportunities for players to get back into form and return to match fitness but just because someone has come back from injury doesn’t mean they get to slot straight back in,” said Smith.
The Wolves will be without six regulars for their trip to the City of Salford Stadium as Smith continues to rotate his squad.
“They rested a lot the last time we played them and they beat us 24-20,” said Reds coach Phil Veivers. “That tells you how much depth they've got in their squad.
“I'm not really bothered about who they put on the park, my sole focus is on the 17 that I put out.”