CARL FORSTER says North Wales Crusaders’ Challenge Cup trip to Bradford Bulls on Sunday will be a great occasion for the fans and players.

Five-time cup winners Bradford will welcome Crusaders to the Odsal Stadium for an intriguing showdown and it will continue North Wales’ run of fixtures against clubs from the Championship.

“We have got lads signed from the amateur game and they’re going to be playing at Bradford,” said Forster looking ahead to the tie.

“We will try and make it an occasion for them boys.

“It’s a good one for the club in terms of the financial aspect. It’s a good day for the fans.

“It’s not every day that they will be going to the Odsal.”

For Forster, he wants his side to be competitive for much of the contest.

“I don’t think an 80-minute perfect performance exists,” he added.

“We’re not even going to get the perfect even 60 minutes versus Bradford.

“We will set ourselves goals to compete, even for five or 10-minute arm wrestles. If we can look at the positives.

“We’re not going to play a harder game all year.”

It has been a tough start to the season for the Crusaders. They opened the year with a trip to Championship Barrow in their sole pre-season friendly.

Next, they hosted Swinton Lions in the 1895 Cup, with the visitors coming out on top 42-10.

Crusaders were competitive, though, and they were able to benefit from second half tries by Pat Ah Van and Ben Evans.

“It was our first competitive game,” said Forster.

“To go in at half-time was a bit demoralising.

“But in the second half the reaction, similar to Barrow, I thought we were brilliant.

“It wasn’t pretty, but with 12 men, I thought we did really well.

“It was 16-12 in the second half with 12 men and the effort and commitment was great.”

Forster admits he and his side are looking forward to facing former Super League outfits Bradford and Widnes in their coming games.

He told the club’s website: “Whilst we acknowledge the tough start, we do also have a real hunger and desire to go and show what we can do.

“We’ve shown last year that we love the underdog tag, and one benefit of the next two fixtures is that we go into them as complete underdogs, there’s no pressure on us whatsoever and I’ve told the lads that we go out there and enjoy our rugby.

“It gives us a good opportunity to get our own systems right, we have to face what’s in front of us, and if we can compete with Championship opponents, even for periods of these games, then that’s going to put us in great shape for the league campaign.

“There’s a lot of lads in this squad who are looking forward to the chance of playing at Odsal or facing Widnes and you also have to remember that it’s in these games where the starting places for the league campaign are going to be up for grabs.”

Pat Rainford and Forster are doubts for Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie.

Live Super League games will be shown on the BBC for the first time as part of a three-year deal struck between the broadcaster and Rugby League Commercial.

The BBC will show a total of 15 live games during the 2024 campaign – starting with Wigan’s trip to Castleford on February 17 – and the World Club Challenge between Wigan and Penrith the following week, both of which will be on BBC Two.

The BBC will also continue to broadcast at least one Challenge Cup match from each round, culminating in the Wembley final on June 8, along with games in the women’s and wheelchair competitions.