Bulls not talking relegation
Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes insists the ‘R’ word has not been mentioned this week but he knows it will be the hot topic if the Bulls' relegation from First Utility Super League is confirmed on Sunday.
Thirteen points adrift of safety with seven rounds left of the regular season, Bradford will accompany London Broncos in the drop to the Championship if they lose for the third time this year to Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith's Stadium.
Optimistic Bulls fans may cling to hope that the club will win a potential High-Court battle to claw back the six points they were docked for going into administration but Lowes is not counting on it.
"I'll let other people deal with that," he said. "It won't have any ramifications on what we do.
"Our job is still the same - to win irrelevant of the situation. It doesn't change how we approach anything.
"We haven't mentioned relegation at all. I don't see any reason to mention it.
"Let's focus on the game and everything else will take care of itself.
"If we are relegated, then we'll deal with that on Monday morning. If we get a stay of execution, then we'll go onto Wigan and deal with that.
"We're focused on the game and anything that happens post-game we'll deal with after the match."
The pragmatic Lowes, who was appointed as Francis Cummins' successor a month ago, has already begun to prepare for life in the Championship by drawing up a hit list of potential signings.
A number of players, including Lee Gaskell and Adrian Purtell, have already indicated a willingness to stay and help get the club back up into Super League at the first attempt, but Lowes knows there is certain to be plenty of change.
"I'd like to keep all the players but that just isn't going to happen," he said. "We'll keep what we can and, although some will want to leave, we'll have a massively clearer picture when our situation becomes clear.
"There's a plan A and a plan B and we've started the process of looking at players for both plans.
"We just need that definite whether we're down or not down. Once we know where we are, we can decide what our plan is and what we do in the future.
"In the position we're in, it's highly unlikely we're going to win all our remaining games and Salford or Hull lose all theirs. We're half preparing ourselves for the plan B anyway and telling players what we want to do in the future."
In the meantime, Lowes is not expecting any favours from his old Bradford team-mate Paul Anderson, whose Huddersfield side are hoping to bounce back after losing their past two matches.
"'Baloo' is a professional bloke," Lowes said. "They had a fantastic season last year and they're in a good position again.
"Unfortunately you've got to put sentiment aside because they've got to finish as high as possible to maintain their challenge."
Salford Red Devils can mathematically ensure their survival when they go to Hull KR for a game that could prove pivotal in the race for the final play-off spot.
The Red Devils are two points behind the ninth-placed Robins as they pursue Widnes Vikings, who gave their own play-off hopes a tremendous boost with a 28-14 win over Warrington Wolves on Friday night.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have put themselves in the mix with a resurgence under new coach James Webster but he believes Hull KR are best placed to overhaul Widnes.
"Hull KR have a good run coming in," said Webster, a former Hull KR player. "We play them in the last game so that could an interesting one.
"If you look at the draw, Hull FC have got a tough one, we have a tough one, Hull KR has probably got the easiest one and Widnes have got a Challenge Cup semi-final and final maybe to worry about."