ASK head coach Lee Radford about Hull FC’s tag as being viewed as one of the Super League favourites and he can immediately see the funny side.
It’s not that he does not believe the Airlie Birds cannot go on and win a first league title since 1983.
With the expensive addition of stellar NRL recruits such as Manu Ma’u and Mahe Fonua as well as Great Britain Josh Jones it is understandable why they are being tipped by some.
But Radford – who has won two Challenge Cup finals since taking charge in 2014 – said: “I’m favourite to be the first coach sacked yet we’re fourth favourite to win it (Grand Final).
“So I think they’re going to try and get rid of me after a couple of rounds and then bring a decent coach in is what I can make of that.
“There’s pressure here from day one. From me taking over I’ve never known any difference.
We’ve brought some different people in that have come to the club for no other reason that the club has got a good reputation. If that good reputation also means a little bit more pressure on us then I’ll take that as well.”Lee Radford
“This year we’ve brought some different people in that have come to the club for no other reason that the club has got a good reputation.
“If that good reputation also means a little bit more pressure on us then I’ll take that as well.”
Hull, who start at Leeds Rhinos on Sunday, missed out on the play-offs last year after a disastrous run saw them lose their last four games.
As well as overhauling the squad, with St Helens winger Adam Swift and New Zealand Warriors prop Ligi Sau being other impressive signings, Radford has also made changes to his coaching staff.
Kieron Purtill left his post as Widnes Vikings head coach to come in as Hull’s new attacking and emerging talent coach.
He essentially replaced one of the FC assistants Richard Horne – who is now fully concentrating on his role as Doncaster head coach – but Radford said: “He’s been really good.
“The difference between Kieron’s job and Rich’s job was Rich’s was a joint-split between Doncaster and Hull.
“And I know as a head coach you’re very much focused on a result for your mother club which was Doncaster.
“Whereas Kieron’s come in and there’s not as much focus on getting a result with him; he can be around the young blokes, be an influence on them but also some of the stuff he’s brought to the first team has been fantastic.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with him since. He’s been a good addition.”
Although there is an emphasis on attack in Purtill’s job title and Hull did struggle for creativity at times last year, Radford insists that is not a major concern.
Asked about breaking down defences, he said: “Every year it gets more difficult.
“But, look, in terms of attacking philosophy we’ve not changed much in all my time here.
“What’s changed is the individuals in that philosophy. And I think we’ve tweaked one or two things to suit one or two players ie when Fetuli (Talanoa) and Mahe (Fonua) came we very much based our game around big fellas out of backfield.
“With Bureta (Faraimo) and Mahe back, Josh Griffin, Swifty and Ratu (Naulago) hopefully we can utilise that as well.
“In terms of what we’ve changed, I think the lack of quality was down to personnel rather than the system itself.”