FORMER Super League star Kris Welham is looking forward to returning to the “roughness” of the Championship tomorrow when he takes his place in Bradford Bulls’ side against struggling Sheffield Eagles.
The ex-England Knights centre dropped down a division this season having been let go by Hull KR last year.
He missed Bradford’s Easter games against London Broncos and Halifax due to a back injury suffered in the Challenge Cup defeat at Dewsbury Rams, but is fit to resume at Odsal.
On his experiences so far in the Championship, Welham said: “I’m enjoying it. It’s a bit rougher and more physical, but I like it here.
“They’re a good set of lads at Bradford and it is a good club, which is run very professionally.
“We haven’t started the season too badly.
“People expect a little bit more from us but we have only lost one league game all year, so it’s so far, so good.”
That one league loss was against Halifax on Easter Monday when some of the crowd vented their displeasure so Bradford are looking for an immediate response.
Welham, who scored 100 tries in 189 appearances for home-town KR, said: “There were boos and people expect a lot more from the team.
“But we have only lost one league game, so we haven’t started too badly.
“If the fans keep turning up and cheering the boys, which I’m sure they will, then things will only get better.
“There has been a lot of outside negativity coming into the team, but the boys are still confident,. he added.
“We are back at home at Odsal and we haven’t lost there this season, so we just want to keep that record going.”
Sheffield, who reached the Qualifiers last term, have had far worse problems.
They have lost their last four games, a run which prompted head coach Mark Aston to apologise to fans after their latest 34-16 defeat at Dewsbury.
As well as Welham, captain Adrian Purtell returns for Bradford for the first time since injuring his groin against Leigh at the end of February.
Richie Mathers drops out, Matty Blythe misses out again having failed a fitness test at Halifax and is replaced by Alex Mellor while Etu Uaisele has moved on loan to Dewsbury.