Troubled Broncos not to be taken lightly as Gentle fears reaction

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Hull FC coach Peter Gentle will not allow London Broncos’ off-field drama to distract his side when they head to Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium tomorrow.

London have failed to impress again this season despite ditching the Harlequins name, under-going a major rebranding and seeing owner David Hughes invest in a raft of high-profile signings.

Joint-bottom of Super League with just two wins so far and easily dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Huddersfield Giants last weekend, they issued a statement on Thursday announcing a full review of their playing department.

Rookie head coach Rob Powell is clearly under threat, too, but Gentle said: “I’ve heard the stories about the review into the playing side of the club but that is out of our hands.

“You always expect a team to respond positively to a loss anyway, so we were preparing to face a fired up London side.

“We know the danger London pose; they have some fantastic players and if we allow them the time and space to play, they will punish us.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves and getting our own performance up to the standards we expect from ourselves.”

Fifth-placed Hull will seek to make further ground on those above them tomorrow despite a couple of unfortunate injuries.

Gentle, who returned to East Yorkshire on Tuesday having had to fly home to Australia due to a family bereavement, said: “Mark O’Meley has picked up a calf injury, which is really disappointing.

“He is a big part of our go-forward and he has only just returned from an Achilles injury so to lose him again is really frustrating.

“We have also lost Kirk Yeaman to a foot infection and he will be a big loss.

“He was looking forward to returning too, but we hope to have him back soon and I’m sure he will be looking for a strong finish to the season as he looks to win back his England jersey.

“His absence will give another chance to Ben Crooks and we are looking forward to seeing how he goes again.

“He will get a game this weekend and possibly the following week too, so there are some positives to take.”

Teenager Crooks starred in Hull’s last outing a fortnight ago, a superb win over champions Leeds Rhinos which took them to within three points of top spot and still with a game in hand.

They face Hull KR in the city derby that looms at Magic Weekend next Saturday and, if they are not already deemed fit and ready for London tomorrow, Gentle’s team should certainly be strengthened then by the return of key duo Richard Horne and Joe Westerman.