MICK O'Neill says he is sad Odsal will shut its doors next month but would welcome any Bulls fans to watch Keighley Cougars home matches with open arms.

From next season, Cougars will be the Bradford district's only professional rugby league side.

After 85 years, Odsal will play host to its final rugby league game on Sunday, September 1 when Bradford Bulls entertain Sheffield Eagles in the Betfred Championship.

It is set to be an emotional day after Bulls announced they would be leaving their long-standing and iconic home and leave the city to play at fellow Championship side Dewsbury Rams for the next two seasons due to the high costs of staying at Odsal.

The Cougars chairman, 78, shared his own memories of being a youngster in the the world record breaking Odsal crowd of 102,575 for the 1954 Challenge Cup final replay where Warrington grabbed an 8-4 victory over Halifax.

Fast forward to 2020 and O'Neill has now encouraged any Bulls fans who wish to watch their rugby league a little closer to home to attend Cougars matches in Keighley next season.

He also confirmed there was never any contact from Bulls regarding a potential groundshare at Cougar Park, but hopes Bulls can return to Bradford as soon as possible.

O'Neill said: "There has been no contact from Bulls with us. We want Keighley to be Keighley.

"It must be difficult for them, going out of the town completely. It's going to be hard.

"We've always had a strong connection with them, the derbies. I hope they keep that going.

"To lose a team from your town or city is sad. It's difficult.

"I hope they can progress and get back into Bradford. It's good that rugby league sticks together. I hope that they can survive.

"Odsal was far too big. I was there in the 1950s, for the 102,000 record crowd. I never saw a thing. I was only a young lad. I always thought it was far too big. It's a big hole. There has been some great matches there at Odsal.

"Bulls supporters would be very welcome at Keighley if they don't want to travel to Dewsbury. We would welcome them with open arms.

"Bradford have a chance for a new beginning. We share our ground with Steeton."

Cougars' last-ever game at Odsal was on Sunday, September 2 last year when a 54-4 victory for Bulls was played in front of a crowd of 3,119 in Betfred League One.

Bulls had explored the possibility of other ground sharing at other sporting sites in Bradford, namely Bradford City's Valley Parade and Bradford (Park Avenue's) Horsfall Stadium, but Bulls chairman Andrew Chalmers said neither were suitable.

Writing exclusively for the Telegraph & Argus, our sister paper, last week, Chalmers said: "I can also confirm we have begun the process of identifying potential alternative stadium development sites, and one of these has been raised with Bradford Council already."

Meanwhile, Cougars utility player Dan Parker has had a busy week.

He signed a new one-year deal that keeps him at Cougar Park until the end of the 2020 season.

But his season came to an end against Whitehaven on Sunday after he was issued with a two-game suspension for a Grade B offence (strikes - punching – self defence).

This means he will sit out Cougars trip to Doncaster on September 1 followed by his side's final game of the campaign, a home date with Newcastle Thunder seven days later.