• Flattered Potter agrees to work without any pay
Mick Potter plans to return to Bradford's training session on Thursday and hopes to be in the dugout for their Super League game against London Broncos at Odsal on Sunday, less than week after the head coach and the rest of his coaching staff were made redundant by the administrators running the club.
In the most astonishing and potentially significant day yet in the drawn-out Bulls saga, it emerged that far from being forced to play under Brian Noble, the former Bradford coach who had been the first choice to succeed Potter, the players were instead keen to link up again with the Australian and his support staff – under whom they secured a famous win at Wigan last Friday.
Noble had already admitted to second thoughts after being surprised by the negative reaction from Bradford supporters, and although the players did not refuse to play under him, there is no doubt that they have played a part in persuading Potter to rethink his initial reluctance to work without pay. "I just feel I owe it to them," he explained. "I'm doing it out of the goodness of my heart, I guess – at least I will be, provided I'm allowed to by the people running the club. They're a great group of blokes, the players, but they need some direction. It's not been the greatest preparation for a game on the weekend, you could say that. But I'd like to give it a go."
The administrators have yet to grant Potter permission, with the only statement from Brendan Guilfoyle on behalf of the P&A Partnership on Wednesday expressing gratitude to Gary Tasker, another key figure in the club's golden years at the start of the Super League era, for agreeing to return as interim chief executive on an expenses-only basis. Tasker's first task was to secure a safety certificate for the London game, for which Guilfoyle urged the people of Bradford "to turn up in droves". There is much more chance of that happening once the news spreads of Potter's involvement – yet Guilfoyle's statement referred only to Noble, claiming: "We need him."
Guilfoyle also sought to downplay the optimism expressed by the game's governing body, the Rugby Football League, about the future of the club. The RFL had issued a statement turning up the heat on Guilfoyle by revealing publically that they had passed on a number of expressions of interest, after rumblings at Monday night's supporters meeting that potential bidders had found it impossible to contact the administrators.
Blake Solly, the RFL's Director of Standards and Licensing, said: "We have been contacted by a number of groups who have expressed a desire to take Bradford Bulls forward and will forward on full details to the administrator. We are also aware that the administrator has received other bids and whilst there remains a great deal of uncertainty, we are optimistic about the future. It is clear that Bradford Bulls is seen as a viable proposition by many would-be new owners and we continue to be hopeful that Bradford Bulls will emerge from this insolvency event."
In contrast, Guilfoyle said: "We are still a long way from finding a purchaser. There is a great deal of work to be done to find a credible preferred bidder by our deadline of Tuesday. This is our last chance."
The League has arranged a meeting with the other 13 Super League clubs for Friday, but only to inform them of the current situation, and the range of potential outcomes. The clubs would be given a vote over whether a new club should be docked points or dropped down to the Championship, although the final decision would be made by the RFL's board of directors, none of whom have club ties.