MATTY BLYTHE is in the unusual situation of actually wanting to impress both watching coaches tomorrow.
The athletic Warrington Wolves centre is currently well into a season-long loan at Bradford Bulls, where he has made a significant impact so far, with the sides meeting each other at Odsal on Sunday.
Unusually there is no clause in place preventing Blythe – or his Wire team-mate Ben Evans, for that matter, who finds himself in the same peculiar situation – from facing his parent club.
That means the 24 year-old not only has chance to once more show Bradford coach Francis Cummins of his worth to the side but also remind Wolves counterpart Tony Smith of his undeniable talent too.
Blythe is under contract at Halliwell Jones Stadium for 2014 but no decision has yet been made on whether he will return there or continue with the West Yorkshire club where Cummins is keen to retain him and prop Evans.
“I just need to be playing as well as I can and hopefully giving a few coaches headaches which I’ve tried to do all my career,” said the player, who remains relaxed about the situation. Whether they want to pick me or not, or keep me or not, it’s up to them. I’m letting it take care of itself really and if someone rings me to say ‘This is happening’ then I’ll be fine with that. Obviously, I want to be knowing (soon) but I’ll be playing rugby league next year and doing what I love no matter what.
“I want to be playing on a regular basis, whether here or Warrington or wherever.
“I do need to know but I’m not really that fussed at the moment.”
The deep-running competition for places at Warrington – centres Ryan Atkins, Stefan Ratchford and Chris Bridge have all played for England – meant Smith could afford to let him go for the entirety of this season and he has enjoyed the experience.
“I love it here and they (Bradford) have treated me really well,” added Blythe, who has scored seven tries in 13 games, a return which would have been far greater if not for a troublesome back injury.
“It feels like I’ve been here for years and I feel part of the family.
“It’s a great place to be at. The club was in administration last year but when I first came here I saw the character and spirit they’ve got and that’s been taken into the games.
“We just need to kick on now and tactically get that right.”
Bradford’s early season flourish has faded somewhat in recent weeks and they will be desperate to avoid a fifth straight defeat tomorrow.
Another loss so soon after the demoralising home reverse against Widnes last Sunday, when they somehow let a 12-point lead slip against the Super League strugglers, would all but end their hopes of reaching the play-offs.
“We’re not far away,” insisted Blythe, who showed his versatility by playing second-row last week.
“We’re working really hard for each other but we’re just not killing teams off. We thought we should have won against both Hull KR and St Helens recently while we definitely should have won last week. But that’s done now and we’re looking forward to putting it right on Sunday.”
That will be easier said than done; last season’s beaten Grand Finalists Warrington produced a stunning performance to end the 13-match winning run of leaders Wigan Warriors on Monday night and are showing all the signs of pushing for a league and cup double.
Blythe watched that game and was duly impressed but not surprised by its intensity.
There is a chance he will be back in Warrington colours next season; how does he feel taking on so many familiar faces?
“Clearly, I know them all pretty well having trained and played together so long,” he said, having emerged through the Wolves academy.
“I’ve a few good mates in the Warrington squad but obviously it’s a sport where you have to go head-to-head with your friends sometimes. It’s just one of those things.
“I’m here to do a job and it doesn’t matter which team we’re playing this week or next, I want to be winning at Bradford.
“It was frustrating missing out when we played over there earlier in the season as it would have been nice to play at my last home.
“That was due to that back problem but I’ve had a few injections in there since and am near enough 100 per cent now.
“The specialist I’ve seen has been really good as has the last week or two. I’ve still got a bit of speed to catch up on but apart from that I’m feeling pretty fresh.
“I’ve been playing pretty well throughout the year and reckon I already have given them (Smith and Cummins) something to think about.
“At centre I’ve been playing well and doing a lot of work and, while second-row last week probably wasn’t my best game, I’m always willing to improve.
“I definitely will this Sunday, no doubt about that.”
Bradford are boosted by the return of back-row forward Chev Walker (knee) and goal-kicking winger Jamie Foster, who has recovered from a ruptured pectoral muscle.