Hull FC coach Peter Gentle admits subduing Bradford Bulls’ dominant pack will be key to any success at KC Stadium tonight.
The Black and Whites are still smarting from the magnitude of their 36-6 defeat at Leeds Rhinos a week ago.
However, considering the manner of Bradford’s eye-catching opening win against Wakefield, a powerfully robust 40-6 triumph, this evening’s game will not be any easier.
“(Assistant) Andy Hay and myself went to watch the Bradford game and they were very impressive,” conceded Gentle
“They were physical and Francis Cummins has them playing very well. Jarrod Sammut had a blinder, Brett Kearney played well and Jamie Foster at full-back was one of the shining lights for them – but they were all behind a very good pack going forward.
“There is a challenge there for our forwards. I think it is a challenge every week.
“We have a very good forward pack here and I don’t think people have seen the best of them.
“You may not still see the best of them yet on Friday but you’ll see them do the little things right.
“We are taking small steps at the minute and we’ll see where we end up.”
Hull remain hamstrung a little up front given captain Gareth Ellis is absent after pulling up in last week’s warm-up and England colleague Danny Tickle plus prop Liam Watts are also sidelined through injury.
Gentle has the option of recalling half-back Richard Horne to freshen up their attacking options, while young centre/second-row Ben Crooks is also drafted in.
The only side to defeat Hull on their home turf last season were minor premiers Wigan Warriors so they are keen to maintain their ruthless edge at the KC while they are seeking a seventh successive victory over Bradford.
Gentle says there has been a sense of a missed opportunity for what happened at Headingley.
“I know the players are looking for a response and we are too,” continued the Australian.
“We were disappointed by last week. The things we planned just didn’t happen. It was frustrating because we didn’t play well and for 55 minutes it was six all.
“To be that close with that calibre of side against us, we can take some positives out of that.
“Whether we get it right or not this week, we will be a lot closer to what we are trying to do and we are heading in the right direction.”
Hull KR have signed Huddersfield Giants second-row Dale Ferguson, 24, on a month’s loan to ease their injury crisis.
He was not used by Giants in the opening round and is likely to go straight into the Rovers side to take on Wakefield tomorrow.
Rovers began the season without prop Ryan O’Hara, centre Kris Welham and new signings Sean Gleeson and Travis Burns because of injury and suspension, while forward Rhys Lovegrove was injured in Sunday’s 32-24 defeat by Catalan Dragons.