‘Underlying problems’ need to be addressed, warns Diskin

Matt Diskin has warned Bradford Bulls supporters not to expect too many miracles with the return of Odsal legend James Lowes.

Bradford Bulls new coach James Lowes
Bradford Bulls new coach James Lowes

The former Bulls hooker was this week unveiled as the successor to axed coach Francis Cummins with Bradford facing the prospect of relegation from First Direct Super League.

They sit nine points adrift of safety, with 10 games remaining heading into tomorrow’s trip to Warrington Wolves, after being deducted six points for entering administration.

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New owner Marc Green has brought in Lowes, but Diskin – who took on the caretaker role after Cummins departed – believes the Bulls’ “underlying problems” need to be addressed.

The main issue is a threadbare squad, and while Diskin is fully behind Lowes, he does believe there also needs to be a touch of realism, too.

“We now have a coach who is going to come in, reinvigorate and create some enthusiasm,” said Diskin, himself a distinguished member of the hookers’ union.

“That’s going to happen.

“But, as a group of players for the rest of this year, we have still the same underlying problems in that we haven’t got the squad depth to create competition for places.

“The way to keep players mentally challenged is by having squad depth that you have to perform in training, perform in games, and perform well otherwise you have someone snapping at your heels wanting to jump in.

“We haven’t got that, and that’s where any coach is going to struggle.

“I have a blank canvas with Jimmy, and am looking forward to it. It’s a new impetus, new ideas, and that’s what will provide the mental stimulation. A new thought process which will be totally different to anything we have experienced in the last couple of years.”

The departure of Cummins and assistant Lee St Hilaire came as a shock to the Bulls players, with the group having battled through off-the-field adversity in terms of financial problems and ownership issues.

Diskin was part of that squad, and while everyone still feels regret at Cummins’s departure, the 32-year-old former Leeds Rhinos hooker is adamant Lowes is the best choice to take Bradford forward.

“He’s a young ambitious coach, had real rounded grounding in the game, both from a playing and coaching perspective, and he’s the right fit for the club,” said Dewsbury-born Diskin.

“He is ambitious, talented, passionate and will help the rebuilding process that we need to take. The players have undergone a real range of emotions these last few years. We were very shocked by the loss of Francis and Lee, and that’s mainly because they have been the rocks in adversity these last couple of years.

“They were the calming influence and that’s the main reason the players were shocked more than anything else.

“But we also know we are an ambitious club, a big name in the game and we need to correct things very, very quickly.

“They have brought in Jimmy, who is young and ambitious and will put the right things in place.The players will be 100 per cent supportive of that.”

Diskin was in caretaker charge for just one game but is happy to hand over the coach’s hat to Lowes, and revert to concentrating on playing duties.

“I enjoyed it, bizarrely, though I was given it in difficult circumstances. I was quoted as being ‘reluctant’. Maybe it wasn’t reluctant, just that I was coming in on the back of two quality people who had lost their jobs.

“It wasn’t ideal circumstances to drop into but I enjoyed every minute of it, put plenty of hours in and didn’t leave any stone unturned.

“I am better for the experience but also happy to hand over the reins as quickly as possible.”

What Bradford have to do now is forget their off-field troubles and concentrate on getting wins.

Even if they do win a High Court challenge and somehow get their six points back, the Bulls would still be two wins away from safety.

For a side who have won just four times all season, they have to forget judicial proceedings, and concentrate their efforts on the battles on the pitch.