Hull FC coach Lee Radford has scope to bring in new faces

HULL FC head coach Lee Radford has challenged his side to get rid of their stutter at Salford Red Devils tonight.

Lee Radford

The Airlie Birds have won just two of their opening five Super League games and also lost an exhibition match against St George Illawarra during their New South Wales tour.

Salford, though, are in a worse state with just a solitary success and having seen one of their leading players – full-back Gareth O’Brien – sold to Toronto Wolfpack on Monday so this evening’s fixture is crucial for both.

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“It has been a difficult season so far and we haven’t really got going,” admitted Radford.

“We have been stuttering a little and the sooner we get some continuity the better.

“In the last couple of years we have had our best players on the field more - but not this year.

“We’ve had Danny Houghton out, Albert Kelly now gone for three weeks and Scott Taylor has missed some time as well.

“We just need to get some rhythm into the start of our season and it’s for the young guns to take that opportunity.”

Having pushed champions Leeds Rhinos close last week, many of the club’s youngsters like Brad Fash and Masi Matongo, will get another chance to shine.

On their opponents, Radford said: “I like Ian Watson as a coach and you can see his influence.

“Salford are a little more direct now they have lost some of their bigger men on the outside like Justin Carney, Josh Griffin and Manu Vatuvei.

“Our middle has got it all to do with Luke Burgess, George Griffin, Craig Kopczak and Lee Mossop. There are some big boys there that carry the ball strongly.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge for us and we are aware of that.

“It’s an important game, too. If we get to three out of six wins we will be there or thereabouts.

“We’ve had some grenades thrown at us this season in terms of injuries as well so if we get to that I’d be pleased. There’s heaps of improvement in us providing we get blokes back on the field.”

Admittedly, Hull have sold one of their leading players this week with the surprise departure of prop Liam Watts to Castleford Tigers for a “significant” fee.

Radford said: “If I need the money it’s there and the Chairman has said that. But, at the moment, we’re in a good spot and have a strong squad.”