HULL FC coach Lee Radford is confident his new half-back duo of Albert Kelly and Jake Connor will flourish given they are “two of the most natural rugby league players” he has ever seen.
Utility Connor, who joined from Huddersfield Giants in the winter, will link with prolific Australian Kelly again versus Wigan Warriors tonight as the club look at life without injured Marc Sneyd for the next two months.
They paired off in Monday’s 23-18 defeat in Perpignan but struggled to take control against Catalans Dragons as Hull slipped to a third successive defeat.
Radford conceded: “They looked rushed. Very rushed.
“They wanted to do everything in the moment but I’m sure you’ll see some more patience from them on Saturday.
“It’s difficult (forming a partnership). It’s not something we practiced in pre-season. The familiarity is built live on game day not on County Road (training ground), unopposed or in the gym, it’s built week to week.
“It’s just a mental thing. They need to show a little more patience. They are two of the most natural rugby league players I’ve ever come across and I’m sure if they can show more patience and let them do the good things they do it will be a real plus for us.”
Hull know how important it is to respond tonight having fallen outside the top four into fifth spot, Wigan just below them.
Shaun Wane’s side are looking for a first win in four games, too, though, so there is pressure on them as well.
However, Hull have a torrid record at home to Wigan who, remarkably, have won their last eight away meetings there.
Indeed, Hull’s last home win over them was in February 2009 when Radford was still playing.
FC are missing the injured Sneyd, Gareth Ellis and Mahe Fonua as well as Josh Griffin and Liam Watts to bans but they welcome back Jordan Thompson and Fetuli Talanoa.
“We’ve spoken about how, in sport, you get caught up in the moment and live week to week,” said Radford.
“Life is very much dictated to by results but we’ve hit that halfway point of the season now and, if you’d have said to me in January we’d be a point off fourth place, Fetuli (Talanoa) would have missed most of the year, Gaz Ellis, Liam Watts, Danny Houghton, too, and we’d be seven points ahead of Warrington, four ahead of Saints and three ahead of Wigan, I’d have snapped your hand off. We’re in the cup, a point off fourth, depleted and we’ll come back stronger.”