Hunslet coach Thornton targeting a victory over Kear’s Bulls

Bradford Bulls coach John Kear.
Bradford Bulls coach John Kear.
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A RECORD crowd is expected, but coach Gary Thornton wants his Hunslet side to focus on the game rather than the occasion when Bradford Bulls visit South Leeds Stadium on Sunday (1pm).

The grass banking opposite the stand will be open for the first time, increasing the ground’s capacity by 1,000 to 3,450 for the showdown with the Betfred League One leaders.

Gary Thornton.

Gary Thornton.

“We are looking forward to it,” said Thornton.

“We’ve had this game on our radar for quite a while.

“We’ve played them twice already, but we’ve been looking out for this one.”

Bulls won 32-12 when the sides met at Odsal in March and were 34-10 victors in a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie at Hunslet the following month.

John Kear’s side are two points clear at the top of the table - ahead of second-placed York City Knights’ game at London Skolars on Saturday - and on course for automatic promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.

Hunslet’s seven-game winning run ended when they were beaten 28-18 at Workington Town six days ago, a result which dropped them two places to fifth.

“After our loss last week we’ve got to get one back,” said Thornton.

“In order to keep ourselves in the top-five we need to win this one and we are going to give it our best shot.

“We know Bradford are a quality team, full of quality players and they are very well-coached by John.

“He has got them playing good stuff and defensively they are strong so we will have to be at our best, but these are the games you want to play in.

“We want to pit our wits against the top teams in the division.”

Thornton felt his team played well last week despite the result.

“I’ve reviewed it again and there were some harsh calls against us,” he said.

“But you have to accept those, we’ve had our fair share of lucky calls and you have to take the rough with the smooth.

“In the first half we played some really good rugby and if we can repeat that I think we’ll give them a decent run for their money.

“We have been playing some good stuff and we need to maintain that.”