Video: Hull City relish Chelsea test as Adkins pays tribute to Ryan Mason

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NIGEL ADKINS insists the challenge of tackling reigning champions Chelsea in the FA Cup without up to ten key players is one he relishes.

The Tigers head to Stamford Bridge on Friday night looking to cause an upset in the fifth round tie.

Hull City's Ryan Mason has been forced to retire

Hull City's Ryan Mason has been forced to retire

City are given little chance by the bookmakers, not least because their squad will be decimated by injuries, suspension and a trio of Chelsea loanees being unable to face their parent club.

Despite that, Adkins is looking forward to tackling Antonio Conte’s men.

“It is a great one,” said the Tigers chief earlier today when asked about the size of the challenge facing the East Riding club.

“We picked up some injuries last weekend who haven’t trained yet. Some trained yesterday but can’t train today.

“We have to keep our cards close to our chest so I won’t say who is involved. But, it is fair to say. it is an interesting challenge. But it is one we have to enjoy too, because we are playing Chelsea.”

Loanee trio Ola Aina, Michael Hector and Fikayo Tomori are ineligible, while Seb Larsson serves the first of a two-game ban for reaching ten yellow cards.

Marcus Henriksen and Ondrej Mazuch are also out through injury along with long-term absentees Abel Hernandez, Moses Odubajo and Stephen Kingsley.

Michael Dawson, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury, did train on Tuesday but missed today’s session, while Kamil Grosicki is another major doubt against the Blues.

Such a crippling list of absentees is a major headache for Adkins, whose side are back in league action on Tuesday at Middlesbrough.

He added: ““We play Friday against Chelsea, then we have got Middlesbrough on Tuesday, then we have got Sheffield United on the Friday, then we have got another game on the Tuesday. It is relentless.

“We have been stretched with the amount of injuries we have had. Players coming back to levels of fitness, it is a bit of a juggling act if you like where you’re trying to say, ‘Right, how can we get as much as we can out of that player without him breaking down?’

“Obviously the impact coming off the bench to help the team, so it’s a challenge but it is one that we are relishing.”