HONEST Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins admits he cannot help having a surreptitious look at the run-in of his club’s play-off rivals.
The West Yorkshire club have forced their way up to ninth place and clearly into the reckoning again on the back of consecutive wins over Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Furthermore, they have an opportunity to give their chances of making the top eight for the first time in five years a significant boost if they can defeat flaky Catalan Dragons at Odsal.
The French side are sixth but in danger of freefall, having won just one of their last five games while they have not tasted victory away from home confines since visiting St Helens four months ago.
Invigorated Bradford, whose players were paid this week after recent cash-flow problems, could close the gap to them to just two points tomorrow.
With Hull KR and Hull FC – the sides just above Bulls – playing each other tomorrow, too, it is easy to see why there could now be a cursory glance at other clubs’ remaining fixtures.
“I suppose it’s only natural to do that but we can’t focus on it,” admitted Cummins, with just four games now to contend with.
“I look at Catalan and they have a tough run-in but we have, too. I would probably rather have ours than theirs but if we don’t win our games then it doesn’t matter what they do.
“The equation is simple for us; win all our games and we will be in the play-offs.”
That is not quite correct – a bizarre and highly unlikely run of results elsewhere could still deny Bradford even if they do defeat Catalan, Castleford Tigers, London Broncos and Huddersfield Giants in their remaining games.
However, it is obvious they can certainly gather some momentum and shake up the whole situation.
Catalan’s schedule is undoubtedly daunting with Wigan, Leeds and Warrington still to come for Laurent Frayssinous’s side.
Admittedly, they have saved their best for Bradford in recent years, being undefeated in their last six meetings including wins on each of their last three visits.
But Bradford, who could welcome back Warrington loanee Matty Blythe from a knee injury and see in-form prop Nick Scruton make his 200th career appearance, only have one aim.
“It would be a massive achievement as the club has not been there (the play-offs) since 2008,” said Cummins.
“With last year’s administration and how late we put the squad together, it would be tremendous for us.
“We have been in a play-off football situation for a few weeks now; we had to beat Hull and we had to beat Wakefield and we did.
“We have just to keep picking these games off.”