New Bradford Bulls head coach Francis Cummins is ready to work on a shoestring budget in 2013.
The 35-year-old former Leeds winger was unveiled as the successor to Australian Mick Potter at a press conference hosted at Odsal by new owner Omar Khan and honorary chairman Gerry Sutcliffe. Cummins has been promoted from the role of assistant coach on a three-year contract, despite the Bulls being given only a 12-month probationary Super League licence.
"We've got 16 players contracted and we'll hopefully be sitting down with the players in the next few days or weeks to secure our playing staff," he said. "That will be the current crop of players who will hopefully continue and also there will be a few young players moving up as well."
Khan and Sutcliffe are effectively on trial in 2013 but Cummins has been rewarded with some long-term security after working unpaid, alongside both Potter and the club's other assistant Lee St Hilaire, for the last three months of the season.
Cummins, who will be the youngest head coach in Super League in 2013, will be faced with a rebuilding job after 17 of the club's 33-strong playing staff all came off contract and he admits money will be tight.
Sutcliffe said he would talking to the Rugby Football League this week about central funding but it is thought the new owners have agreed to take a substantial cut in proceeds from the Sky deal in return for being allowed to remain in Super League. Cummins is hoping to keep as many of the current squad intact as possible and does not anticipate much activity in the transfer market.
He added: "There are kids here who you've not heard of yet but you will do if I can do my job correctly and bring them through and we can have a team full of home-grown talent."
Cummins enjoyed a one-club career with Leeds, for whom he made 356 appearances from 1993 to 2005, and also won three caps for Great Britain, before retiring at the age of 29.
The former Ireland and Great Britain international cut his coaching teeth as an assistant for four years at Leeds before being appointed as Potter's number two at Odsal at the start of the 2011 season and believes he is ready to take charge of his own team.
"I wouldn't be sat here if I didn't think that," Cummins said. "To be honest, I've been ready for a couple of years. I had to leave Leeds to further my education. It's been great working with Mick but I've always known I'm ready to have my team."
- Francis Cummins
- Gerry Sutcliffe