Lowes may look to recruit replacement for captain Diskin

Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes has admitted he may have to look outside the current squad for a replacement for retiring captain Matt Diskin.

James Lowes.

The ex-Great Britain hooker announced this week he will hang up his boots at the end of the season after a 14-­year career in which he won four Super League Grand Finals with Leeds Rhinos.

Lowes, whose relegated side play Widnes Vikings tomorrow in their final home game of the season, has acknowledged he is yet to decide who will captain the team in next season’s Championship.

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He said: “Obviously there are some new people coming in. I don’t know their personalities so I’ll get a bit of a feel in pre­-season. I’ve nobody in mind at all.”

Lowes took over at Bradford in June after a spell as head coach at rugby union side Leeds Carnegie, and the coach paid tribute to his retiring captain.

He said: “Matt has done a great job and had a great career. Credit to him. He has always been 110 per cent and, of course, I remember playing against him as well.

“I was fortunate enough to retire on my own terms. Matt’s injuries have been a big influence on him making that decision, not just for playing now but his health long-term. You have got to think of your body and the eventuality in 15 years’ time.

“He has been pushed with the injuries unfortunately.

“But he has been a credit to rugby league and to himself wherever he has been.”

The Bulls’ form has improved in recent weeks as the club look to build towards bouncing straight back to Super League.

Matty Blythe is the latest player to commit his future to the club, meaning 14 of the current squad have already been retained for 2015 with a further six new signings set to join in the off-season.

However, the club were dealt a blow with the announcement key half-­back Luke Gale will join neighbours Castleford Tigers on a two-­year deal. Lowes has revealed he is looking to sign a new half­-back partner for Lee Gaskell but is adamant he will not be rushed into making a decision.

He said: “I have got a couple in mind that we are chasing but that is probably the furthest one away from being sorted over the next week or two.

“I am a bit picky. I want a half to play a certain way and if it’s not right I can be a bit funny like that.”

Completing the squad has been Lowes’s priority recently, and he has still to appoint an assistant, though there are likely to be some changes to the backroom staff over the coming months.

“Sometimes it is good to freshen the place up,” he said.

“Some of the guys have been through quite a lot with administrations and things like that here.

“I just want to bring some fresh people in. I’ve got my own ideas and am quite strict with those.

“But it is always good to be challenged; it keeps you on your toes.”

Academy rising star Brad Adams could be handed a debut having been called up to tomorrow’s 19-­man squad.

Chev Walker and Oliver Roberts return but wingers Luke George and Elliot Kear, who will leave at the end of the season, look to have played their last games for Bradford having been left out.