Salford Red Devils v Hull FC: Riding the mental challenge of hectic schedule

Hull FC assistant coach Gareth Ellis believes Salford Red Devils’ back-three is “as good as any in Super League” – which makes them a major threat to his club’s top-six hopes.

Progress halted: Hull's Cameron Scott is tackled by Tigers' Suaia Matagi last Thursday ( Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

The Black and Whites have fallen out of the play-off places following Thursday’s home loss to Castleford Tigers – which came just days after an epic derby win against Hull KR.

They are back in action today at second-bottom Salford who have won just five games all year.

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Ellis said: “They’ve not picked up many wins and struggled on that front. But from an attacking point of view they have some dangerous players like (Tui) Lolohea who is a really good off-the-cuff broken-field runner.

Hull's defence shackles Castleford's Greg Eden (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“He’s in and around a lot of the good stuff they do. And their back field is as good as any in the league really in Dan Sarginson, Krisnan Inu and Ken Sio.

“There’ll be Joe Burgess tomorrow, too. We’re talking about players who are as good as any. We have our challenges and we will have to perform well to get the result.

“They throw a lot at you so we will have to be good defensively.”

Hull are down to eighth on a 50 per cent win ratio, the same as Hull KR in seventh as pressure increases to make the top six.

That said, Wigan, in fourth, are only on 57.14 with just four games to go.

Ellis said: “It’s narrowing out now and coming to a head with a number of teams in the same boat. It makes this game very, very important for us.

“It’s been a funny few days. You throw a lot of effort emotionally and physically at the derby and to come out with the win was really pleasing.

“But then the downside of that four days later is you could just sense there was a real flatness about the (Castleford) performance.

“I spoke to Danny McGuire and he said Hull KR were exactly the same (in loss against Wakefield).But it’s no excuse; you need to be able to conjure up a performance no matter how you’re feeling.

“The soreness won’t get any easier and the bruises won’t go away by Monday. We need to make that mental switch and do what we can to get a performance to get the result.”

Hull have also lost Carlos Tuimavave, Jamie Shaul and Jack Brown to injuries, meaning Academy trio Jude Ferreira, Aidan Burrell and Marcus Walker are called up.