Danny to Bridge gap at Bulls
Bradford Bulls have snapped up Warrington Wolves back-row forward Danny Bridge and are now on the lookout for a new prop following confirmation of Garreth Carvell's move to Hull FC.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins's already-slim resources were stretched further when Carvell, the club's major close-season signing from Warrington, pulled out of his two-year deal to return to Hull.
Carvell's move comes less than a week after Bradford issued a hands-off warning to Hull but it is thought the player was able to obtain a release from his contract due to the recent change of ownership.
"He's made his decision," Cummins said. "It's disappointing but, if a player doesn't want to be here, you have to move on."
Carvell is the second close-season signing to leave the Bulls without making a single First Utility Super League appearance, with second rower Frank Winterstein released at his own request.
Cummins has brought in Bridge, the 21-year-old younger brother of Warrington's former Bradford centre Chris Bridge, as a stop-gap measure, initially on a month's loan, and is now scouring the market for a front rower.
"We've brought Danny Bridge in and that will probably be it for this week but we are looking at other options as we speak," he said.
"We need another middle (forward) or two. We knew we had to any way when we had Gaz. We need to bolster the squad in that area."
Bridge, who made two Super League appearances for the Wolves last season, trained with his new team-mates for the first time today and, with an injury doubt over new signing Dale Ferguson, is likely to go straight into the Bradford side for Sunday's opening Super League game against Castleford Tigers.
"I coached Danny when he was with England Under-16s," Cummins said. "He's big and strong and he's got some skill about him. He can put some big hits in."
Bradford already have centre James Saltonstall on loan from Warrington and may make a move for Welsh prop Ben Evans, who spent last season on loan at Odsal but is in the Wolves squad for tomorrow's game against St Helens.
The cash-strapped Bulls have lost star forwards John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead in the last six months but they received some good news this week with the decision of front rower Adam Sidlow and half-back Luke Gale to sign two-year contract extensions.
Gale, the club's new vice-captain, had been targeted by Hull and had already been linked with a move to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
"Obviously I looked at other options," he said. "You'd be stupid not to.
"But I wanted to stick with Bradford. I just wanted to repay the faith they showed in me."
That came as welcome news for Cummins, who is still waiting to discover if his team will be docked points after the club went into administration.
It is possible the club could find out their fate when the Rugby Football League's board of directors meet on Friday but Cummins is concentrating on football matters.
"It's out of our hands," he said. "I'm not wasting my energy on it because, to be honest, I'm a bit sick of it."
The RFL is set to discuss the subject of the club's ownership, with several rival groups thought to be interested in making an offer to the administrator.