Changing fortunes leave Bulls eager to tackle Warriors

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PROUD Francis Cummins believes tomorrow’s visit from Super League leaders Wigan Warriors will be a landmark occasion for his fledgling but productive Bradford Bulls side.

They were sat in third spot at the start of this weekend’s round of fixtures having emerged as the surprise package of 2013.

The last time they faced Wigan in June, the troubled club’s very survival was in question due to their dire financial predicament.

Yet, the picture is so different today and Cummins is keen to see it does not fade anytime soon.

“We are third on the back of Easter but can’t be happy with that and sit back thinking we have done okay,” he said. “Of course we are happy with the work we’ve put in but we can’t relax.

“We have to have a real crack at these and see where we are. I do think it could be a landmark fixture for us in a lot of ways.”

Of course, Wigan have slipped up just twice all season and are, by far, the most prolific side in the competition.

A lot of that is down to the ingenuity of Sam Tomkins which begs the question, how do you stop the irrepressible England full-back?

“There are a lot of theories and they are all good on paper,” laughed Cummins.

“But he is a tremendous player and so talented. Just when you think you have got him he steps and puts that big 25 metre step on you with his big legs extended and off he goes.

“But it’s all about concentration and working as a team. Wigan are very good and if you come out of a system and try and do it on your own then they have a player ready to go into the hole.

“He is a massive part of the start of their set but we can’t get bogged down with one player because with their system and the way they play they can get you somewhere else.

“Sometimes you can over-coach and over-worry and there’s no doubt that Sam will cause you trouble, but we have to stick with what we have been doing.

“Someone is going to make a mistake and he will be there ready to take advantage of that but hopefully not too many times.

“When we’ve made mistakes this season someone else has been able to work hard for someone else, whether it’s been with the ball or chasing back and that’s the key to it: stick to systems, put them under pressure but be ready to work for your mate.”

It is not like Bradford do not know how to defeat their illustrious visitors; they won 30-22 in that game at Wigan last year and, it is worth remembering, have only lost one more game than Shaun Wane’s side so far.

Bradford centre Michael Platt is back in contention after recovering from a knee injury that has kept him out since February while prop Ben Evans, on a season-long loan from Warrington, could debut.

It is an unlikely first versus third contest at Odsal but it is one that rightly whets the appetite.