Hull coach Lee Radford is hoping his players can turn their Challenge Cup heartbreak into a Super League positive as they prepare to take on reigning champions Wigan in a battle that could determine third spot.
Radford’s men are four points in front of the fourth-placed Warriors, who will go into tonights round 24 game at the KCOM Stadium buoyed by a run of six wins from their last seven matches.
Hull go in on the back of a 22-14 defeat by Warrington in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and Radford is hoping for a response.
“I hope the boys are stinging still,” Radford said.
“They were disappointed earlier in the week naturally but we’ve got to take the positive from it and learn from it.
“To miss out on the final is a heart-breaking part of the game unfortunately but now we need to show a response and push as hard as we can in Super League.”
To miss out on the final is a heart-breaking part of the game unfortunately but now we need to show a response and push as hard as we can in Super League.Hull FC coach, Lee Radford
Free from cup distractions, Radford believes putting all his eggs in one basket can help them improve their play-off prospects.
“I said in 2016 and 2017 when got to the final it definitely hurt us and a week off now will hopefully do us good,” he said.
“Top three is big because you get two bites of the cherry – we’re very aware of that – and it looks very achievable.
“We could go six points ahead and, although it’s not knockout footy, it would make it very difficult for them to catch us.”
Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin, one of three players returning from injury, says his team are high on confidence but are preparing for a backlash from their hosts.
“The talk in their camp will be about reacting to that defeat and focusing on maintaining their position in the league,” he said.
“I think it will be a battle of wills.”