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Hull FC v Castleford Tigers: Minichiello looking for swift response from Airlie Birds

Hull FC's Mark Minichiello. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Hull FC's Mark Minichiello. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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Hull FC’s Mark Minichiello knows his side must quickly address their defensive deficiencies against Castleford Tigers this evening.

The Airlie Birds had won five of their last six games before falling to a surprise 25-24 defeat at bottom-placed Catalans Dragons last Saturday.

Australian second-row Minichiello admitted: “It wasn’t a great performance last week.

“It’s never easy going to Catalans but we should have put in a better performance than we did.

“Defensively we weren’t where we needed to be and we need to put that right pretty quickly on Saturday.

“Cas have been a lot more consistent than we have and they are rightly sitting above us in the table.

He’ll be doing his best to make sure Cas get a result. He gave this club some great service, I’d like to think that the fans won’t give him too much trouble.

Mark Minichiello

“They are a quality side, they showed that last year and they’re pushing for the top again this year.

“We’re expecting a real tough game.”

Hull will have goalkicking scrum-half Marc Sneyd back after he missed the trip to France due to illness and will partner him with Jake Connor after Albert Kelly picked up a hamstring injury in Perpignan.

Minichiello, who hopes to sort a new deal at Hull for next season and play on past his 37th birthday in January, is looking forward to tackling former team-mate Liam Watts.

He left in March after surprisingly being shown the door by coach Lee Radford.

But Minichiello maintains the squad left on good terms with the ex-Hull KR front-row who spent sevens seasons at KCOM Stadium.

“There’s no bad blood between us,” he said.

“He’s a good fella and no doubt he’ll be doing his best to make sure Cas get a result. He gave this club some great service, I’d like to think that the fans won’t give him too much trouble.

“He’s a great player that probably needs our attention defensively. He’s a big man who has got a lot of football in him.

“He can skip across the line, he’s got a great offload and he plays a lot of football.”

Former Castleford and England No 13 Joe Westerman could feature for Hull as he starts his second spell at the club.