Hull FC are tonight seeking to halt a six-match losing run and prevent Warrington Wolves from bouncing back from their Challenge Cup final defeat.
Hull are without prop forward Chris Green, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in his side’s last match at Huddersfield a fortnight ago.
They bring in Jez Litten, Hakim Miloudi and Masi Matongo after losing green’s fellow forward Mark Minichiello to injury. Half-back Marc Sneyd remains on the sidelines.
Warrington are confident of quickly putting their Wembley disappointment behind them as they bid to cement a top-four place.
The Wolves have had little time to lick the wounds from their 20-14 defeat by Catalans Dragons in Saturday’s final at Wembley.
Having missed out on the first major trophy of the season, their only hope of silverware in 2018 is the Grand Final and they cannot afford to slip up at home to Hull if they are to remain on course for the semi-finals.
Steve Price’s men are just four points in front of fast-finishing Huddersfield Giants, who are their round-four opponents at the Halliwell Jones Stadium a week tomorrow.
Warrington can draw on past experience to help their cause, having bounced back from a 12-10 defeat by Hull at Wembley two years ago to gain a 26-22 win over Catalans in the south of France before going on to win at Hull in the last match of the Super 8s to clinch the League Leaders’ Shield.
They might also take encouragement from the example of Wigan, who responded to their defeat in last year’s cup final to win their next two league games.
Wolves stand-off Kevin Brown, who was almost inconsolable after tasting Challenge Cup final defeat for the third time, is confident his side can produce the response demanded by the coach.
“I’ve had a lot of negative stuff go on in my life before and I’m pretty confident that I can turn myself around and get positive,” said the former Huddersfield star. “We are very well placed for a crack at the Grand Final. The Wembley defeat stung for a few days but probably the best thing that’s happening is we have this game so we can get out there and move on.”
Price will stick with the nucleus of the side that lost at Wembley. Back-row Bodene Thompson, ineligible to play for his new club in the cup, is recalled, along with experienced centre Ryan Atkins, who has recovered from a torn bicep to provide a late-season boost for the Wolves.
There is also a place for Australian utility player Ben Pomeroy in the absence of forward Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Last season: No corresponding fixture.
Last six league matches: Warrington LLWWLW, Hull FC LLLLLL.
Referee: L Moore.