Gentle not looking far beyond Salford game

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HULL FC have reassessed their team goals for the year and simply will not look past this afternoon’s game at Salford City Reds.

For all they were deemed potential title challengers during the hype of pre-season, head coach Peter Gentle accepts there now has to be more realism.

They have only just managed to put together two consecutive wins for the first time this campaign, a success at Wakefield backed up with victory over Catalan.

To the uninitiated, lowly Salford – swept aside comfortably 58-24 at Widnes last Sunday – offers a perfect opportunity to extend that winning sequence.

But Gentle insisted: “We are not concerned about winning or losing runs. What we are conscious of is we are playing Salford.

“They are coming off a game where they haven’t performed on that pitch (Widnes’s artificial surface), which a lot of teams haven’t done like us and Warrington.

“We have disregarded that result and know we’re playing a Salford side who matched it with Bradford and beat Huddersfield; that’s the team we are prepared for.

“It isn’t about extending a winning run but putting all our energy into just winning this game.”

It is easy to understand where the Australian is coming from; his players have freely admitted falling in love with themselves this term and there is a necessity for getting back to the basic principles of the game.

Yet for all Hull have only won four from 11 so far, they remain in touching distance of the top-four spot that was their initial target.

In Richard Horne, they have a player managing to regain some of his best form while also helping nudge them towards some sort of clarity and performance.

He and Aaron Heremaia were far from Gentle’s first-choice half-back pairing at the start of the season but absenteeism has forced them together and the unlikely couple seems to be working.

“Considering one is a hooker and the other a full-back, our halves are going very well for us,” he admitted. “Having some consistency in the halves is making a difference and the spine of the team is coming together now.

“We are not working harder, we are just starting to see the rewards of the work we are doing.

“There were a lot of reasons we couldn’t get on top of our game but the players are seeing the rewards now, things are falling into place and we have found a style that compliments us.” 
Salford have won just twice but Gentle – likely to recall Chris Green after Danny Tickle was injured in that 28-8 win over Catalan – countered: “They’re very much an attacking team, defensively we’ll have to be very good and we have to tidy up our completion rate.”