SUPER LEAGUE’S form player Ben Crooks is out of Hull FC’s game tomorrow adding to the struggling side’s mounting problems.
The Airlie Birds crucially need to avoid a fourth successive defeat when Huddersfield Giants arrive in East Yorkshire.
But they have now lost Crooks – the 20-year-old centre who has scored seven tries in his last two games alone – and also Australian stand-off Daniel Holdsworth with, furthermore, both in doubt too for a vital Challenge Cup quarter-final at Perpignan in a week’s time.
“Ben rolled his ankle in last week’s game and did well to stay on the field,” said head coach Peter Gentle, referring to Monday night’s home loss versus Wakefield when Crooks, remarkably, still grabbed a hat-trick.
“He hasn’t responded to treatment as well as we would have hoped, so at the moment we are looking to next week for him.
“We are hoping it is just one week but we will have to wait and see how it develops over the next few days.
“Daniel has more scans (on his calf) so we’ll wait and see the extent of it and whether he can play next week.”
Versatile Richard Whiting will return to offset the loss of one of the injured duo while Gentle insists there is no panic at the KC Stadium.
They had moved as high as fourth when defeating champions Leeds Rhinos at the end of May, having recorded just one defeat in 10 matches.
However, consecutive losses against Catalan, Castleford and Wakefield means they are now in danger of slipping out of the top eight.
“We have been in this situation earlier in the season and there is definitely no overreaction from inside these four walls,” said Gentle, whose expensively-assembled squad delivered just one win from their opening five games of the campaign.
“I’m not too sure what is going on outside. I know the players have copped a lot of stick and I have too and we have deserved some of that.
“People are entitled to say what they want, but there is enough negativity around and we have to stay positive in here.
“If we win the next two games everything is forgotten.
“The passes aren’t sticking and it is affecting our confidence, but we haven’t stopped working hard,” he said.