Cummins puts faith in young Bulls

Bradford head coach Francis Cummins has vowed to stick to his principles, and carry on promoting youth at Odsal.

Since taking over from Mick Potter at the end of 2012, the likes of Danny Addy, John Bateman (now with Wigan) and Tom Olbison have all been made first-team regulars by Cummins, whilst this year the former Great Britain and Ireland full-back has promised more game time for Alex Mellor (19), Nathan Conroy (18) and Oli Roberts (18).

The Bulls have also loaned Warrington and Italy youngster James Saltonstall, and it is something Cummins will persevere with, despite the re-introduction of relegation.

“From day one I set out to develop young players,” said Cummins.

“I brought some through last year and I’ll bring more through this year.

“Adam Brook played in pre-season at half-back, and he’s the next to make an impact, but overall I’ve got a very young squad anyway.

“There are a lot of players here in their early 20’s, and it is what the game needs.

“I’m not sure if there is more pressure due to relegation being a factor this year, half the division will be conscious of it, but I wouldn’t class it as pressure.”

While Cummins is not one of the coaches who is opposed to the now infamous two-12’s-then-three-8’s system, he is wary of the effect it may have on the production of home grown talent.

“Sometimes when there is a new concept people disagree with it for the sake of it,” he added.

“But there is the worry that a coach may be forced to buy a player for short-term gain instead of being able to dedictate funds to the development of their own.

“Our game is not big enough for that to happen, we cannot make those sacrifices.”

For Bradford, one of the most successful teams of the Super League era to date, today’s ambitions are to make the play-offs, or in the future, the top eight split.

37-year-old Cummins, now the third youngest head coach in Super League, behind Lee Radford and Laurent Frayssinous, is confident his side has the ability.

“We have strengthened well and the quality has gone up from last season.

“If we improve our concentration and keep building, hopefully we will reap the rewards.”

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