FACING the Super League champions is hardly the assignment you would fancy having just been relegated.
However, Bradford Bulls vice-captain Luke Gale believes tomorrow’s visit from Wigan Warriors will offer his crestfallen side a first opportunity to start putting their disappointment behind them.
Indeed, with demotion confirmed following Sunday’s loss at Huddersfield, the England Knights scrum-half says it is imperative they immediately start looking towards 2015 by finishing this campaign with a flourish.
“Jimmy (Lowes) has come in and that’s what he’ll want to do – build for next year,” said Gale.
“We have to do that. We have to go into these last six games with all guns blazing.
“We have nothing to prove now do we? We’re down so the shackles are off and we can play a bit.
“We know it will be tough against Wigan. They are a great side, they have a lot of good young kids and I like the way they play – their attitude and aggressiveness.
“We’re not under any illusions it’ll get any easier with Wigan and then Leeds but we’ll brush ourselves down and be ready for Sunday.”
For all Bradford, who have won just once in their last nine games and lost six successively, had long been destined for relegation, it did not make the experience any easier for Lowes’s side.
“It probably just hit home in the changing room at Huddersfield,” said Gale.
“There were a bunch of disappointing boys there.
“It’s not a nice feeling. Obviously, we sort of knew it was coming but as soon as it did happen it was so disappointing.
“It was a tough one but it’s definitely the key now (to finish on a high).
“We’ve shown these last few weeks we can play in patches. It’s just the consistency. We’ll score, then we’ll let them in. It’s probably a bit of mental toughness as much as anything.
“Jimmy’s come in and tried helping with that. I’m sure these next six games we’ll dig in and, hopefully, grind out a couple of wins.”
That is the least Bradford’s long-suffering supporters deserve, too, having witnessed a couple of administrations in the last two years and now contemplating Championship football.
“The fans have been massive for us,” said Gale, who is expected to join Castleford Tigers in 2015.
“I’m sure when they’re down next year they’ll still come in numbers. Credit to them.
“I feel for them, though; everyone talks about the players not having it easy but the fans have been through a lot these last few years with all the ups and downs.”
Bradford’s nadir this season, meanwhile, was the humiliating 84-6 loss suffered at Wigan on Easter Monday, the biggest defeat in the club’s long history.
That shows the true size of the task ahead.
Lowes brings in Jordan Baldwinson for the injured Chev Walker and recalls wingers Elliot Kear and Danny Williams, Adrian Purtell and Luke George dropping out, while Wigan welcome back ex-Australian full-back Matt Bowen and Darrell Goulding.