HULL FC head coach Lee Radford says he no longer has any need to ask his injured players to play through the pain barrier, writes Dave Craven.
They head to Castleford Tigers tomorrow missing a key trio of players – captain Gareth Ellis, Tonga second-row Sika Manu and in-form winger Fetuli Talanoa.
Each picked up knocks in last week’s win at high-flying Warrington Wolves, a result that put Hull top of Super League and now looking for a ninth consecutive victory.
However, whereas in years gone past Radford would probably ask such individuals to battle on, the strength of his current squad means that does not have to be the case.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to any players but there is no necessity for anyone to have to play with an injury at the moment,” he said, referring to that triumvirate.
“We’ve got very good replacements and guys that have been coming in and doing a wonderful job.
“Whoever does play this weekend knows they’ll have a role to play in what will be a very tough game at Castleford.”
Former Castleford back-row Jordan Thompson, Dean Hadley and ex-Bradford Bulls winger Curtis Naughton are set to come in, all having made their own positive impressions already this term, while former Great Britain stand-off Leon Pryce and Jansin Turgut are added to the 19.
Castleford lost 38-28 at home to Widnes Vikings last time out, a disappointing result that severely dented their top-four hopes.
However, they have won the last four games between the sides at Wheldon Road and Radford admitted: “They’re a great side.
“As a rule they’ve always responded under Daryl Powell after disappointing losses.
“That’s what last week against Widnes was for them and they’re pretty desperate now if you look at the table.”
“We know what to expect from them that’s for sure. We have to be bang at it.
“We need to replicate what we did defensively against Warrington - we were as good as we’ve been defensively there - and delivering fewer errors coming out of our own end is key.”