BRADFORD Bulls boss John Kear reckons title rivals York City Knights would have no trouble competing in the Championship should they get promoted.

Kear, who took the reins at the fallen West Yorkshire giants over the winter, has rejected suggestions that the League One title race is now a two-horse contest between his club and the Knights, saying any of the top-half teams can yet have an impact on the promotion picture.

But he also says there is little to choose in quality between League One's better teams and those in the bottom half of the Championship, believing that whoever does go up will not look out of place in the higher division.

“It’s better than I expected,” said former England boss and Super League stalwart Kear of the standards in this year's League One.

“I firmly believe from position seven to 12 in the Championship, anyone from one to eight in League One would be able to compete with them.

“Batley, Dewsbury, Rochdale, Swinton – York have already beaten Swinton (in the Challenge Cup). Put them against Newcastle, Bradford – teams from one to eight in League One – and I don’t think you’d know who was in the higher division.

“Also, if you constantly played at that level, your standards would improve.

“Your standards are driven by team-mates and opposition. Playing better opposition each week, your standards go up.”

Bradford sit pretty at the top of League One with 28 points from 15 games.

York are second with 26 points, four above Hunslet, whose super run has lifted them clear in third, above Oldham, who slipped up against Workington on Sunday.

Newcastle Thunder, whom York battled to beat at the weekend, are down in ninth, on 16 points, but still only four points off the top-five play-off places with 11 games to go.

Kear was more than an interested spectator at Bootham Crescent on Sunday. His Bradford team take on Newcastle on Friday and face York in a top-of-the-table showdown later this month.

Asked if the title race was now between only the Bulls and the Knights, Kear said: “That’s disrespectful to the other opposition – the likes of Oldham and teams like that.

“Oldham are a really good team, the two Cumbrian teams are good, Keighley, Newcastle – there are eight or nine teams.

“I always feel more comfortable taking one game at a time – baby steps in a marathon."

On whether his largely full-time outfit were now clear favourites for the sole automatic promotion place, Kear said: “We’re top of the league but we’ve got 11 games left. We’ve jumped 15 fences and there are 11 more to jump – and there might be one of two fallers in those 11.

“I’m counting on nothing. If people make us favourites, there’s still 17 blokes in front of us for the next 11 weeks and we have to do our best to come out on top of them.”