Lineham’s absence offers Crookes a shot at redemption and Wembley

HULL FC coach Peter Gentle says Jason Crookes can put his court shame behind him and finish a difficult week by enhancing his claims for a Wembley jersey.

Jason Crookes (centre) celebrates scoring for Hull FC.
Jason Crookes (centre) celebrates scoring for Hull FC.

The England Knights winger was given a 12-month conditional discharge on Tuesday after being found guilty of assaulting two women last December.

He has endured a testing first season at Hull after joining from Bradford Bulls, making just nine appearances and featuring only twice since April.

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Much of that has been down to the impressive form of rookie wideman Tom Lineham, who has set Super League alight with his strong-running style and prolific try-scoring. However, he injured his ankle in the derby win at Hull KR on Sunday and remains a huge doubt for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final against Wigan Warriors next Saturday.

Subsequently, Crookes, 23, comes in against Salford City Reds for only his first game since playing at Castleford in June.

He has not been able to gain any dual-registration time in the Championship and Gentle said: “It is an opportunity for Jason.

“The boys were disappointed for Tom, but also you couldn’t hide the excitement on Jason’s face and he has a big opportunity.

“He’s fine (after court) and it is about being ready when the opportunity knocks.”

On Lineham’s chances, Gentle added: “We still don’t know the full extent of Tom’s injury and haven’t completely ruled him out yet. He will get an opportunity to prove his fitness one way or another next week.

“It is an outside chance, but while it is an outside chance we will give him as long as it takes.”

Hull, of course, cannot rest any players this evening as they still require points to secure their play-off position.

Realistically, second-bottom Salford should not offer too much resistance to a side that is seeking a fourth successive win.

But Gentle maintained: “Salford have nothing to lose and they are dangerous. We cannot afford to back off. If we win we are in the play-offs and have an opportunity to still get a home semi-final.

“If we lose it makes it very difficult and opens up all sorts of problems for us.”