RELEGATED Bradford Bulls have further enhanced their chances of making a swift return to Super League by retaining two more significant members of their first-team squad.
Second-row Tom Olbison and prop Adam Sidlow have both followed the lead of Lee Gaskell and Dale Ferguson by announcing their decision to stay at Odsal in the Championship.
It is a significant boost ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Leeds Rhinos as Bradford also look to build on their shock win against champions Wigan Warriors.
Olbison, 23, came through the club’s Academy ranks before debuting in 2009 and has gone on to become a mainstay of the West Yorkshire club’s pack.
He has scored six tries in 19 league games this season and signed a deal that keeps him at Odsal until the end of 2016.
Sidlow, 26, joined from Salford Red Devils at the end of 2012 and has scored seven times in 42 matches.
The rangy front-row has signed just for next season and Bradford head coach James Lowes said: “Olbison is a good young kid with a really good attitude.
“He’s got a massive amount of potential and the thing I like about him is that he will probably fulfil his potential because his attitude is that good.
“Sidlow is a good old trucker and he gets through a load of work. We’ll probably need that in the next couple of years and will try and complement it with the explosive types. You need a player like that who can do a good job for 80 minutes if asked to do that.
“They are two good signings and – with regards squad recruitment – we’re getting there now.
“It has sort of helped getting relegated last week as it means we can fire that Plan B into action.”
Ferguson, meanwhile, looks set to make a long-awaited return to action after being named in Bradford’s 19-man squad for tomorrow’s game.
Due to a succession of injuries, the 26-year-old Scotland second-row has played just four games since joining from Huddersfield Giants where he was heavily involved in last season’s League Leaders’ Shield triumph.
Nathan Conroy also comes in, the injured Brett Kearney and Jamie Foster out, while winger Danny Williams keeps his place after yesterday agreeing an extension to his loan from Salford.
Hull FC prop Liam Watts has signed at KC Stadium until the end of 2018.
Watts, 24, has made 47 Super League appearances since making the switch from Hull KR two years ago. Hull KR have given two-year contract extensions to back-row forwards Aaron Ollett and Steven Holker, each products of their academy system.
Ollett, 21, made his league debut last June and has appeared in six of Rovers’ last seven matches.
Holker, 18, has yet to play Super League having spent most of the season on the injury list.
Ex-England second-row Joel Tomkins is set to make his second ‘debut’ for Wigan tonight against Salford nearly three years after leaving them for Saracens.