LEE RADFORD believes Hull FC’s unlikely Grand Final shot is possible – because his side play better under little pressure.
The Airlie Birds are rank outsiders to reach Old Trafford given they start the Super 8s in seventh spot already six points adrift of the crucial top four.
It means tonight’s game at Castleford is already one they realistically have to win and head coach Radford concedes they will require six victories from seven to qualify for the semi-finals.
But he added: “We did eight wins out of 10 earlier in the year.
“We’ll have to beat some unbelievably talented sides and do so in their back garden as well.
“If I was a gambling man, I don’t think I’d put my mortgage on us but, at the same time, it does probably relieve a little bit of pressure from the group.
“This group does tend to perform better when there isn’t pressure on them.”
Fifth-placed Castleford is a good starting block, too, given Hull have beaten them twice this year with a 21-18 league win at the KC Stadium last month and also in the Challenge Cup.
“What we do know is we have to get off to a good start in the Super 8s at Cas’ to give ourselves any chance,” added Radford.
“If you look at the points difference, too, it does seem a long way off but the flip side is if we do beat Cas, we can look at things in a totally different way.
“We’ll still have to play (fourth-placed) Huddersfield but first we have to focus on Friday.”
Much of the responsibility will lie on the young shoulders of Jordan Abdull, the 19-year-old stand-off tasked with guiding Hull alongside former Castleford half-back Marc Sneyd due to a season-ending injury for ex-Great Britain No 6 Leon Pryce.
The teenager has shown some encouraging signs in the last two games, off the bench in the win at Hull KR and in the heavy loss to Wigan Warriors a fortnight ago.
“The key for Jordan now is to do that consistently,” said Radford. “He’s got to do seven rounds as we can’t have one game where he is excellent and then not see it backed up – but that’s right through the squad.
“If we are going to do anything we have to perform well for seven fixtures. We’ve had a fortnight, though, to work and tweak things and we’re ready for Cas’ now.”