The Australian takes his squad into the penultimate regular round of his maiden season at the helm when they host Wigan Warriors this afternoon.
To secure a place in the top-six, they will not only need to beat their opponents and win at Wakefield Trinity on Friday but also still rely on other results elsewhere falling in their favour. The odds are certainly stacked against the Airlie Birds who fully expected to make the play-offs, especially after they started impressively and lost just one of Hodgson’s opening seven games in all competitions.
However, hit by Covid and injuries to key players, a pitiful run of seven defeats in their last eight games has left them down in eighth ahead of this round.
Inconsistency was one of the issues predecessor Lee Radford faced but Hodgson – in his first campaign as a head coach – does not believe the task at hand is greater than first imagined.
“No. I knew that there were many challenges that we faced as a club last year,” he said.
“And I knew there were going to be challenges this year. It’s never easy at this level in any club and Hull FC are a big club with a big fanbase and expect success.
“We haven’t reached the heights that we would have liked this year obviously and for reasons that I don’t need to go into now.
“We’re continually trying to evolve and build the academy system that we’ve got here and putting steps in place now.
“It’s not about as much as we’d like to get to success this year, it’s about putting the steps in place to make sure that in four or five years’ time we are competing at that higher level for a sustained period. We’ve got a lot of work to do – we know that – but the steps are in place at the moment to make sure that we get there.”
Under caretaker coaches Andy Last and Kieron Purtill, Hull actually reached a Super League semi-final last term before being eviscerated 29-2 by today’s opponents.
Wigan, looking to secure fourth spot and a home play-off, have their eyes on returning to the Grand Final and making up for last year’s agonising last-second defeat to St Helens.
They are out of sorts, too, with just one win in their last five outings but they only narrowly lost 10-6 against Warrington Wolves at Magic Weekend when Hull had their own near miss with a Golden Point defeat to Leeds Rhinos.
Hodgson said: “Against Warrington, they were in it for the full 80 and only four points was the difference in the end.
“They hang in there, they’re tough to break down defensively and they’ve got individuals that can hurt you in Jackson Hastings, Zak Hardaker, Sam Powell at dummy half and good outside backs with speed. We must be on our game.
“But it’s not about Wigan; it’s about us getting a little bit of confidence back into our system, getting out there and knowing we can perform and execute our plays. Being more clinical.”