Dragon slaying tough ask for Hull – Radford

Hull FC's Steve Michaels.
Hull FC's Steve Michaels.
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HULL FC head coach Lee Radford realises it will take a special effort from his squad to end their six-year winless run in Perpignan.

The Airlie Birds have an early season visit to France today, fresh from their opening game, an impressive rout of a Salford City Reds side who vanquished St Helens themselves on Thursday night.

But Hull have not prospered at Stade Gilbert Brutus since 2010 and Radford believes the current Catalans side is stronger again.

“Our track record in Catalans speaks for itself over the last six or seven years and they may have the strongest home record in Super League over the last three,” he said.

“We went there last year on a nine-game winning streak and just got pipped on a referee’s decision at the end of the game.

“We’re very aware of how tough it’s going to be, with how well they have recruited makes it more difficult.

“Dave Taylor came off the bench and was strong against Wigan, and Glenn Stewart on their right is their go-to man.

“They’ve got Krisnan Inu alongside him who on his day is as good as anybody.

“Justin Horo is very solid and Richie Myler is a proven half in this competition. It’s going to be a difficult job but one we are fully aware of.”

However, Hull are bolstered by the return of captain Gareth Ellis as the former England second-row ends his six-month injury lay-off following Achilles surgery.

They have lost winger Mahe Fonua to a knee injury for around six weeks meaning Australian Steve Michaels could get a shot today but, generally, the East Yorkshire club are in good fettle.

“Catalans don’t lose games at home but don’t travel too well either,” added Radford, the French side also missing captain Remi Casty and former Leeds Rhinos hooker Paul Aiton to injuries.

“We can put points on the board as well and what I think we have up to speed is our defence.

“Our ‘D’ has to be at the top end of its spectrum but we’re in good spirits and looking forward to it.”

Catalans fell 12-6 in their opening game at a rain-sodden Wigan but Radford expects more from them in firmer conditions.

“Offensively, Catalans are a real threat and they will challenge us,” he said.

“The atmosphere is always frosty in a packed crowd.

“You get two local touch-judges and a local video referee as well; it just makes it a difficult place to play for any side.

“But if we stay strong and have fire in our bellies, we’ve got a chance.”