HULL FC head coach Lee Radford says he is not overly concerned by Man of Steel Danny Houghton’s injury and insists there will no be issue at hooker.
The club’s vice-captain, part of the England elite training squad this season, pulled up with a calf injury early on in Friday’s impressive 22-20 win at champions Wigan Warriors.
Houghton, famously one of the toughest and most durable players in Super League, is set to miss Saturday’s trip to struggling Warrington Wolves and Hull have no recognised replacement for him.
However, Radford was pleased with the way experienced back-row Danny Washbrook slotted in there at Wigan and is confident he can continue in the role if needed again.
“Danny’s having a scan on Monday but you know if he comes off then he’s definitely done something,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
“He felt it straight away but we’ll wait and see. Obviously, he’s made of concrete and is a quick healer.
“If the physio says two weeks, he’ll be back in one. But full credit to Washy. He came on in a position he’d not trained in all week and did great for us.
“That’s what we’ve brought him here for, that versatility. He just goes and slots in wherever.
“We’ve got Dean Hadley who’s on loan at Wakefield and played nine last week and Jez Litton who’s going to be an outstanding rugby league player but this is probably just a bit too soon for him.
“So, Washy can carry on in there and then we can tweak some things on the run like people jumping in and out of dummy-half. We’ll go down that route.”
Those errors, particularly in the first half, caught up with us eventually and from 45 minutes onwards it seemed like we were hanging on for dear life.Hull FC head coach, Lee Radford
Hull ended Wigan’s 11-match unbeaten run dating back to last September having raced into a 22-0 lead inside just 41 minutes.
Kick-off was delayed when FC were caught in traffic on the M62 but it didn’t show.
Wigan struggled to contain the visitors as Steve Michaels, Albert Kelly, Jake Connor and Jamie Shaul all scored tries.
However, mistakes crept in and they were left nervous at the end.
Liam Forsyth was the first to respond for Wigan with a 53rd-minute try.
George Williams, Tom Davies and Liam Marshall then touched down in a enthralling eight-minute period to give Warriors hopes of remaining the only unbeaten side in the league, only for Morgan Escare to miss the chance to level with the boot.
Radford added: “We got out of the blocks really quick and looked like we could score every time we touched the ball.
“Ultimately that led to us being a bit loose. Those errors, particularly in the first half, caught up with us eventually and from 45 minutes onwards it seemed like we were hanging on for dear life.
“We got to the game just 20 minutes before kick-off and that had an effect on preparation.
“Danny obviously pulled his calf chasing the kick-off so there was some things we had to overcome. But me being a pessimistic coach I feel we could have made it a lot easier.
“That said, some of the scrambling defence we showed, particularly in the last 15 minutes before half-time, is as good as I’ve seen.
“We have to make sure we continue that now as ultimately that wins games of rugby league.”
Hull went top after the win, although they are now second on points difference behind Castleford Tigers who beat Catalans Dragons yesterday.
They head to Warrington next, last season’s beaten Grand Finalists who have lost all six games in Super League so far and whose only success this term was in the World Club Series against Brisbane Broncos.
Tony Smith’s side, slumped at the foot of the table, are suffering the same ordeal as Leeds Rhinos last season and in dire need of a win.
Radford said: “With Leeds you could understand because of the injuries but you look at the squad Warrington are putting out and it’s very capable.
“Confidence is obviously real, real low but they are going to come good at some point. Hopefully it will be after Saturday.”
Radford can welcome back Liam Watts and Jansin Turgut after suspensions.
Wigan coach Wane, meanwhile, said: “It was a good effort.
“We were unlucky not to win the game.
“We were poor in the first half and bombed three tries on our right edge in the first 15 minutes.
“Against a team like Hull you have to take your chances.
“They are a good team, but I am proud of our efforts.”