Houghton keen to make fresh start in Hull derby

Captains gather for the Betfred Super League launch at Old Trafford, Joel Tomkins (Hull KR) and Danny Houghton (Hull FC),  Picture Tony Johnson.
Captains gather for the Betfred Super League launch at Old Trafford, Joel Tomkins (Hull KR) and Danny Houghton (Hull FC), Picture Tony Johnson.
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HULL FC captain Danny Houghton says opening the new season with a derby is the “best thing” for his side as they bid to rid 2018 from the memory once and for all.

The former Man of Steel hopes to lead his men to victory at Hull KR on Friday and end a Super League losing run that, incredulously, dates back to last July.

Lee Radford’s team suffered 11 successive defeats with their last win against Widnes Vikings in June so, understandably, they cannot wait to start afresh again.

Hooker Houghton said: “Last season has been put to bed by us.

“We want to forget it yet still remember it to use as a bit of a motivator and make sure the things that happened then spur us on now to what we want to achieve in this season.

“With all that, it’s probably the best thing for us starting at Hull KR; everyone will be switched on for derby day and to get that win against Hull KR after last year’s disappointment will be massively important for us moving forward.

“At the start of the season it’s important for everyone making sure you get off on the right foot and getting those two points.

“But when it’s a derby in Hull it’s that little bit more so.”

The 30-year-old added: “It’s always a special week building up.

“There’s a buzz around the city, everyone you bump into is buzzing about the derby and, for it to be Round One, to crack off like that, I think it’s great for the city but also the game.

“Hopefully we can get the Super League season off with some great matches and progress the comp’ to where it needs to be,” he added.

Hull have already been hit with a selection issue, however, after their England star Jake Connor was handed a one-match penalty notice for using foul and abusive language to a match official in last week’s friendly against St Helens.

The centre/half-back was sin-binned for dissent at the time but has since been charged by the match review panel as well.

Hull say they will contest the decision at an appeal hearing on Tuesday but if they fail the talented Connor will miss the derby.

The East Yorkshire club already have doubts over first-choice half-backs Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd.