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Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bradford Bulls season preview 2011

By Gareth Jones
BBC Radio Leeds

Mick Potter
Potter has reached both the Challenge Cup final and the Grand Final as coach

After five years without silverware, Bradford Bulls are hoping a wind of change will blow in a new era of success.

For a club of Bradford's size and tradition, failure to finish in Super League's top eight in the past two seasons has been an unacceptable result for fans, players and the board alike.

But with new coach Mick Potter and his assistant Francis Cummins at the helm, a belief is growing that the Bulls are back on the up.

Confidence has been further boosted by the calibre of the West Yorkshire side's recruits, with players being brought in who appear to be at their peak, rather than past their best.

As many as 10 new faces have arrived, with the likes of Matt Diskin (Leeds), Patrick Ah Van (New Zealand Warriors), Bryn Hargreaves (St Helens), Marc Herbert (Canberra) and Shad Royston (Halifax) adding a mix of experience and hunger to the side.

With the new arrivals added to improving youngsters such as Elliott Whitehead, Tom Olbison, James Donaldson and Craig Kopczak, Bulls fans are looking forward to the new Super League campaign.

This is a chance for Bradford to start climbing back up the ladder

Coach Mick Potter

Former Catalans and St Helens boss Potter certainly shares the feel-good factor that has enveloped Odsal during the close season.

"I'm excited to be here," Potter told BBC Radio Leeds. "It's a new time and a new era for the players and the club.

"The players want to test themselves and prove themselves. Many feel individually they have a point to prove, to themselves and other people.

"We can get in the top eight and once you are in there then all you need to do is win four games, which is easier said than done, to be the champions.

"We have to get in the eight this year, and if we win more games than we lose in the season I think that would be very good progress for this club. What happens after that who knows."

Bradford's start could not be much tougher, however, with an opening match against Leeds Rhinos, another club rejuvenated by a new coaching staff.

And Sunday's game at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium (1400 GMT) will see hooker Matt Diskin coming up against the club he left just three months ago.

"I've moved on to new things and they are still going strong," said Diskin.

"I still see the Leeds guys and go for the odd coffee with them and they are a good set of lads. I'm sure the banter will start to fly in the build-up to the game, and I'll look forward to locking horns with them.

"It is an exciting time at the Bulls, with a new squad, new coaches, a new challenge and the club really making efforts to change. It's refreshing."

BBC Radio Leeds will once again be the home of West Yorkshire rugby league for the 2011 season and will have commentary of all three matches from the Magic Weekend in Cardiff.



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