Radford ready for Hull FC’s acid test in first round

Hull FC Lee Radford.Hull FC Lee Radford.
Hull FC Lee Radford.
HULL FC head coach Lee Radford says he has learned he needs to keep his cool more in 2015.

Whether he does so remains to be seen as the East Yorkshire club look to rectify an “unacceptable” 11th-place finish in his first season in charge.

Radford, 35, found life tough after being promoted from his role as Peter Gentle’s assistant last term, but feels his squad – and himself – are now better prepared.

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“There’s been pressure from day one and there was a couple of points last year where I was under the pump,” he admitted, ahead of Sunday’s first game at Huddersfield Giants.

“But you can expect that with regards results. We finished in 11th and I don’t see that as acceptable and neither do the fans. Rightly so.

“They spend their hard-earned cash to come watch this team and they want to see it perform.

“I’m as much a supporter as I am a coach, I suppose. I love the club and want them to succeed as much as I possibly can.

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“I’ve learned from one or two things and I’d like to think I’ve adapted, but I have learned to calm down a little bit. That needed doing.”

Radford has performed a sizeable overhaul of his squad in readiness for the new campaign.

Knowing that the incoming players are yet more of his own picks, rather than remnants of Gentle’s reign, encourages him.

“We’ve had a 14-player turnover which is massive so one of my key roles was to get everyone in and settled as soon as possible so they can get to know each other,” he added.

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“Everyone but Steve Michaels was in training November 1 so they had that opportunity. There’s been some good relationships formed. Hopefully we’ll see that come to fruition on the field.

“I’ve got trust in the players. They are a good group of blokes off the field, too, but the acid test is Huddersfield, round one.”

A little bit of research has reminded Radford just how tough that assignment will be.

“They have not lost a round one game for six years and have beaten Wigan twice, Saints and Warrington,” he said, “so Giants do tend to get off to a flier.

“Our away form was a concern last season. We lost a lot, but a lot were within just eight points so it’d be great to come around on the other end of that this time.”