LEE RADFORD admits he has a dilemma over picking his team for Hull FC’s final four games of the season.
The Airlie Birds’ head coach knows his side cannot qualify for the Super League semi-finals given they are stuck in eighth spot ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Warrington Wolves.
Understandably, some thoughts have already switched to 2016 and, given some of his current squad will not be at the KC Stadium then, it would be easy to leave them out for the remainder of the campaign.
“It’s Catch-22 with the team selection,” said Radford, who sees Richard Whiting and Josh Bowden back in his 19-man squad this week after injuries.
“I want to put my best side out, but at the same time we want to have a good look at players for next season, too.
“We want the win Sunday and the side we put out will be strong enough to get the result.
“But we know Warrington will want a response too after not going so well recently,” added Radford.
Depending on seventh-placed Catalans Dragons’ result against Wigan Warriors at Millwall today, Hull could replace Warrington in sixth with a Super 8s win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium tomorrow.
They won there in May with Marc Sneyd’s last-second drop goal securing a dramatic 27-26 victory having, ironically, lost 7-6 to a one-pointer in the home fixture in the second game of the year.
“If we finish sixth now I’ll be ecstatic because it will mean a strong finish to the season,” added Radford, with Warrington, conversely, seeking to avoid a fifth successive loss in all competitions.
“It’s been an up and down year and it’s probably been a building season, but we want to sign off in the right way.
“Fifth looks difficult, but sixth is achievable. To go to Warrington and get a result would be great.
“We’ve already done it this year in spectacular fashion and we are aiming for the same.
“We’ve got some good blokes leaving and we want to send them out on their terms, I suppose, in that we want a strong finish to the season.”
Injured duo Chris Green and Fetuli Talanoa have dropped out of the squad that was named in Hull’s last game, the 36-22 loss at Leeds Rhinos after Hull had won at champions St Helens, so Bowden and Whiting get a chance.
Prop Bowden has been sidelined with an ankle injury since the last game of the regular season against Wigan, while Whiting could make his first start since the Super 8s opener, a defeat at Castleford Tigers.
Former Castleford stand-off Sneyd said: “We have quite a few important players leaving at the end of the season so we want to let those guys leave on a big high.
“They want to finish their FC careers off in style, and all the boys just want to try their best for them.
“We need to make sure we send those blokes away with a smile on their face.
“The natural instinct of a professional is to attempt to win every game.”