Bulls set new deadline for reaching £1m survival target

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LONG-SERVING loose-forward Jamie Langley says Bradford Bulls players still have “all fingers and toes crossed” that the troubled club can battle out of their financial turmoil.

The Bulls were supposed to announce at Saturday lunchtime whether they had reached the all-important £500,000 figure to stave off administration.

However, following their cash-boosting 12-4 Good Friday victory over Super League champions Leeds Rhinos, the deadline for pledges has been extended until midnight tonight.

Bulls chairman Peter Hood reckoned the total was approaching £480,000 when they were due to make a decision but more people had still vowed to pledge and, surely enough, within hours of their decision to delay, the figure rose again.

With the Inland Revenue and the Royal Bank of Scotland awaiting payments, not to mention the players who will discover on Wednesday if they are to be paid wages this month, it seems like the club could now fulfil most of their immediate obligations.

But, first, before activating those pledges, a decision has to be made about whether they are confident of generating a second £500,000 to simply fulfil their fixtures this season. That is when the sale of players such as teenage back-row John Bateman, whose services Warrington Wolves are desperate to obtain in return for a significant six-figure sum, may have to come into play.

Former England international Langley, however, says the squad are simply concentrating on this afternoon’s trip to Widnes Vikings.

“We’ve been in close contact with the board who have been keeping the players informed,” he told the Yorkshire Post. “They’ve been really optimistic and confident all the way across and that’s been mirrored by the fans, not just ours but rugby league supporters in general.

“We’re just keeping fingers, toes, everything crossed and remaining confident we can pull through. We’re at Widnes on Monday and just looking to get over Friday’s bumps and bruises to go again.”

Langley, who has played more than 200 games for the Bulls and featured the last time they won a Grand Final eight years ago, admits he was staggered by Friday’s amazing scenes at Odsal.

“It was, honestly, such a really weird night with so much emotion from the players and fans,” he said, after a huge crowd saw depleted Bradford defeat the world club champions, Langley scoring a crucial try. “I just think everything that had gone on all accumulated into that night. It was massive and quite a surreal experience.

“To have more than 20,000 fans down there meant there was a great atmosphere – like the atmosphere of old – and it was unbelievable to get the win.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy it as much as we’d have liked as, being Easter, we’ve got two games in four days.

“But it was an absolutely fantastic result not just for the players but the fans, club and Bradford Bulls as a whole.”

Bradford, level with Leeds in sixth, suffered injuries to Phil Joseph and Karl Pryce but Wales prop Craig Kopczak returns today after missing the last five games with a fractured finger.

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