BRADFORD BULLS coach Mick Potter believes there could rarely be a better time to take on Challenge Cup holders Wigan Warriors.
It may sound surprising given tomorrow’s visitors impressively defeated Super League champions Leeds Rhinos just a week ago, their defence remarkably solid and England star Sam Tomkins menacingly showing all his customary panache.
But Bradford have taken great heart from their own first victory of the season, a hard-earned if less spectacular offering at Castleford, and feel suitably ready to make their own necessary improvements.
“The most pleasing thing last week was our defence,” said Potter.
“That was very good especially the way we defended our try line and it’ll be a big job this weekend to back that up.
“Wigan are a tough team. They’re not unbeatable – as Huddersfield showed – but they can beat the best of them as they did against Leeds.
“We’ll have to be at our best and, depending on the conditions, I’m happy we have them this early in the season so we can have a good crack at them.”
Another muddied surface like at Wheldon Road would certainly be one way of trying to limit the attacking prowess of Tomkins while Bradford are desperate to give their Odsal crowd something to be proud of given the lacklustre manner in which they opened their campaign against Catalan nearly a fortnight ago.
“Structurally, Wigan are hard to break down,” added Potter, who went on to question some of Tomkins’s techniques.
“They work very hard for each other and Sam Tomkins at full-back is a phenomenal player; he’s hard to shut down, elusive, and has got the ability to milk some things out that probably shouldn’t be given and that’s just the sign of an exceptional player.
“They’re a hard team to beat but it’s not impossible.”
Bradford supporters, who saw their side push Wigan close on their way to Wembley last year, should get a first look at Keith Lulia, the centre signed from Newcastle Knights, after he was passed fit.
He is likely to be a straight replacement for Adrian Purtell who was injured at Castleford.
The Tigers, meanwhile, face another tough test when they face Catalan Dragons in Perpignan this afternoon.
The kick-off has been brought forward from tonight to try to avoid a repeat of last week’s debacle when Hull FC’s fixture there was called off just two hours before the start due to a frozen pitch.