LEE RADFORD hopes Danny Houghton’s injury problems are now behind him as the Hull FC captain prepares to make his 300th appearance for the club.
The 2016 Man of Steel should return for tomorrow’s trip to Super League leaders St Helens as the Black and Whites are able to make a raft of changes to help freshen up their squad following the hectic Easter period.
Hooker Houghton missed six weeks of action after tearing a calf against Wigan Warriors on the club’s tour of New South Wales in February, a similar injury causing him problems last term as well.
He returned to feature in FC’s derby win at Hull KR on Good Friday but was then rested as they secured a third successive victory when beating Wakefield Trinity on Easter Monday.
Houghton is in the 19-man squad, though, headed to Langtree Park where he is set to face England hooker and another Man of Steel in James Roby.
As he prepared for this latest landmark total, Radford admitted: “What else can you say about Mint (Houghton)?
He’s a terrific player who brings so much to us. He’s very durable although he’s probably missed more games in the last two years than his whole career before.Lee Radford
“It’s all been said before about him. He’s a terrific player who brings so much to us.
“He’s very durable although he’s probably missed more games in the last two years than his whole career before.
“Hopefully, though, that’s the end of that now and he can take to the field for the rest of the season with us.”
Tonga captain Sika Manu is also recalled after the second-row recovered from a calf injury while Kiwi centre Carlos Tuimavave – man-of-the-match against Hull KR – full-back Jamie Shaul and teenage back-row Jordan Lane are all brought back into Radford’s plans after being rested versus Wakefield.
On former Melbourne Storm star Manu, he added: “It’s good having him back.
“He’s a calming influence on whichever edge he plays and he brings physicality every week.
“When he’s on, arguably he’s one of our best players, so it’ll be great to have him back and the likes of Shauly, Carlos and Mint, too, for a game against a Saints side who are flying.
“We’ve got Jack Logan coming back in on the wing, as well, for Bureta Faraimo, who’s banned, so it’s a good chance for him.”
If Houghton, who debuted against Harlequins in 2007, does feature, he becomes only the third player to reach the three-ton figure for Hull in the summer era. The 29-year-old follows former team-mates Richard Horne and Kirk Yeaman on to that exclusive list.
Back-up hooker Jez Litten, 20, is also named by Radford having impressed against Wakefield while Marc Sneyd, whose 51-metre drop-goal clinched the 27-26 win against Trinity, is set for his 100th appearance with the Airlie Birds.
St Helens, meanwhile, have named an unchanged 19-man squad as they seek to maintain their fine start with a ninth win from 10 games.
Elsehwere, Warrington Wolves are set to be without their big signing Ben Murdoch-Masila for around a month.
The Tonga second-row, who joined from Salford Red Devils in a £175,000 deal last winter, injured a knee in their win at Castleford Tigers on Easter Monday.
Scans have shown he will miss three to four weeks of action with a grade two medial ligament strain.
Widnes Vikings’ Krisnan Inu is out for up to three months after the in-form Kiwi centre broke a leg against Warrington on Good Friday.