Radford backed by Lynch to turn Hull around

Castleford's Andy Lynch.Castleford's Andy Lynch.
Castleford's Andy Lynch.
EX-HULL FC captain Andy Lynch hopes to heap more misery on under-pressure Lee Radford tonight – but insists his former team-mate and coach is the right man to lead the Airlie Birds.

Prop Lynch makes his first return to the KC Stadium since leaving Hull at the end of last season and re-joining his first Super League club Castleford Tigers.

While his current employers have prospered – Castleford are in the hunt for all three trophies – his previous colleagues have endured yet another abject year.

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In his first campaign as a head coach, after being promoted from assistant following Peter Gentle’s sacking, Radford has found it tough with Hull languishing in 12th and almost certainly out of contention for the play-offs.

Illustrating that, a section of fans unfurled a banner reading “Radford Out” when they suffered the biggest loss of his reign, a 56-10 defeat at Wigan on Friday,

It has led to inevitable questions about whether owner Adam Pearson will persist with the 34- year-old rookie, but Lynch is adamant he is the ideal person to take them forward.

“They definitely should give him a longer chance,” he said, having played alongside the former front-row at both Bradford Bulls and Hull.

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“He’s only been in the job six or seven months and he’s a young, up-and-coming British coach. I thought last year he had some quality ideas and Pete (Gentle) used a fair few of them.

“He’s got his own ideas and there’s a lot of young quality coming through at Hull.

“That’s one of his big philosophies – give youth their opportunity.

“But Radders needs time to get his squad together as, though he has brought a few players in, a lot of his current squad were signed by Pete.

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“I’m sure if he gets the players he wants he’ll do well and he’s got two great ones in Leon (Pryce) and Sneydy for next season.

“As long as I can remember –playing against Hull and when I was there – they have been crying out for some half-backs and I don’t think they quite found the ones they wanted.

“Hopefully, that’s changed now. Leon is an established half-back, a great player, great runner and a top bloke, too, while I know from this season at Cas’ that Sneydy has got all the skills and attributes to back him up as well.

“I just hope they don’t put him under loads of pressure from the start.”

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Marc Sneyd, of course, has been one of the finds of this campaign having inspired Castleford, while on a season-long loan from Salford Red Devils.

Hull have paid the 23-year-old’s parent club £100,000 to secure him from 2015, the goal-kicking player currently leading the way with 24 try assists in Super League, a feat matched only by Wigan Warriors’ Matty Smith.

Sneyd, though, will be leading fourth-placed Castleford’s charge this evening as they seek a victory which will put them just a solitary point behind current leaders St Helens.

The Challenge Cup semi-finalists played their part in a dramatic 24-24 draw at title rivals Leeds Rhinos a week ago and ex-Great Britain prop Lynch told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s a massive game for us now.

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“The pressure is on as it’s so close at the top; if you lose a game you could drop three or four places. You can’t afford to do that and we really need to push hard.

“For me, I can’t wait to go back to Hull. It was a great place to play over the last two years, a great set of fans and it’s been a while since I’ve been there on the other side.

“I do think they are a quality team, but things have just not quite gone their way this season.

“We’ve got to go there with the right attitude though, as they will be tough. It’s only their second game back at the KC after a long spell away and they’ll want to make up for that Wigan result.”

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In-form Lynch, who played for Hull at Wembley in last season’s Challenge Cup final defeat to Wigan, retains his place in Castleford’s side, but Daryl Powell has made a raft of changes.

He has rested key trio Justin Carney, Craig Huby and Jake Webster with the ex-Hull duo of Garreth Carvell and Scott Wheeldon, plus James Clare and Ashley Gibson all set to return.

Radford, meanwhile, is unfazed by the criticism and said: “This is definitely a chance to put a smile back on the fans’ faces, especially those with the banners.

“We’re going to do this for those people. I just think it’s time to show it physically now. The talk is great, but we need to see it in action on Thursday.

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“We did our review on Sunday, and some sessions you walk out thinking you’re the only one that’s come away with anything after screaming and shouting for 25 minutes.

“But I felt pretty positive coming out of the video with some of the stuff that was said. It’s really important for us now that we start seeing some results.”

The return of captain Gareth Ellis plus Setaimata Sa and Kirk Yeaman, should aid their efforts.