BRADFORD Bulls coach Francis Cummins admits he does not know what to expect when Salford Red Devils – with his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Iestyn Harris now in charge – arrive at Odsal tonight.
The pair were colleagues in the last Leeds team to win a Challenge Cup back in 1999 having also featured in the inaugural Super League Grand Final the previous season.
Harris, who is a former Bradford captain too, has replaced another ex-Bull Brian Noble, who was sacked as head coach by the controversial Marwan Koukash at the big-spending Salford a week ago.
“Iestyn and I are not overly-close but whenever we meet up we have a good chat,” said Cummins. “You don’t have those sort of experiences together and doing what we did without becoming relatively close.
“We’re not on the phone every two minutes but there has been times when I’ve spoken to him about certain things.
“It could be a good time to play them but we don’t know the make-up of their squad in terms of how tight they are.
“There may well be some players who have been sold a bit of a dream from Nobby and he’s not there anymore.
“But there will be other players who will want to prove to Iestyn that they should be in the starting line-up.”
Cummins is more concerned with his own side who have lost their last four league games and remain rooted to the bottom of Super League on minus two points.
However, new owner Marc Green, the addition of France prop Jamal Fakir and a big Challenge Cup win over Oldham have all served to galvanise the West Yorkshire club.
“You can feel the momentum coming with us and you start putting other teams under pressure then,” said Cummins, further boosted by the return of captain Matt Diskin, stand-off Lee Gaskell and prop Adam Sidlow from injuries.
“There are some teams who aren’t in great form now who aren’t too far away from us and other teams around the corner so we just need to keep building.
“We’ve got numbers now and there are some tough decisions to make.
“I’ve dreamed about having these kind of problems and now I’ve got them they are not easy.
“It’s a big test of the players’ character that if they do miss out then it’s how they can react to that.”