Huddersfield Giants v Hull FC: '˜Great talent' Jake Connor backed to succeed with Airlie Birds

HUDDERSFIELD Giants captain Leroy Cudjoe has backed former team-mate Jake Connor to show his true class with Hull FC - just hopefully not tonight.

GREAT TALENT: Hull's Jake Connor hands off Catalan's Alrix Da Costa. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The utility-back is sweating on his place for a first trip back to Huddersfield who he left last winter for the Challenge Cup holders.

Connor, 22, described his own performance as “shocking” when deputising for suspended scrum-half Albert Kelly in Hull’s 16-14 loss to Catalans last Thursday.

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With Kelly now available, he could miss out, but England centre Cudjoe, who watched the player emerge through the ranks with Giants, said: “I thought Jake just tried too hard last week.

Leroy Cudjoe, right, with Huddersfield team-mate Mermaine McGillvary. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“He’s a great talent that can be as good as he wants to be.

“I just hope he’s not on his game too much this week. There has been a few messages sent between a few of us and Jake as we still keep in touch so it’ll be good to catch up with him.”

Cudjoe is a doubt himself, though, after missing last Friday’s 24-16 win over Wakefield Trinity but, if he does not pull through in time, another youngster is ready to slot in just like Connor before.

Sam Wood, 19, scored two tries in last week’s victory and Cudjoe admitted: “He played great which we all knew he would.

Leroy Cudjoe, right, with Huddersfield team-mate Mermaine McGillvary. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“Defensively he came up with some great tackles and wasn’t too bad in attack with his two tries.

“He’s a good kid that works hard and listens, always asking for help and advice so the way he played is what we expected from him.”

Depleted Huddersfield have seen their pack decimated with Dale Ferguson joining Tom Symonds and Michael Lawrence on the sidelines and a fourth forward – Ukuma Ta’ai – suspended.

England winger Jermaine McGillvary has also dropped out, but Cudjoe remains confident his side can build on their two wins so far. Hull have come in for criticism and he said: “Last week’s game wasn’t great; I don’t think playing one match and having a week off helped them.

“But with the players they have, we’re expecting a much improved Hull and a tough physical game.

“The big thing for us is to focus on what we need to improve on and keep building our game.

“There’s a few things we weren’t happy with from that Wakefield game, so we need to make sure we fix those up.”