Brett Hodgson has said the return of Jake Connor to his match day squad give confidence to his teammates ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Castleford Tigers at the MKM Stadium.
Connor has been named in Hull’s 21-man squad for the first time since picking up a knee injury against Wakefield in early June, and is expected to feature in Friday’s key game against the West Yorkshire side.
“Jake is a big part of our team. Vocally he’s a big presence and the players around him gain confidence when he’s in the team,” Hodgson told the Hull website.
“It’s good to have him back. He’s ready to go. He’s excited – he’s a rugby player and he wants to play all of the time. He knows what he can offer us and we know what we can get from him.
“I know the timeframe was what it was. Upon reflection of scans it was perhaps over reported so for Jake to get back the way he has is excellent. He was pushing to play last week but we had to hold him back on that one a little bit.”
Looking ahead to the match itself, Hodgson added: “We have set a big focus on making sure that we are back to our best this weekend. We have to be. They’re playing well are Castleford at the minute. They’ve got some quality, they’re confident and they’ve got some ex-Hull players and there’s Radders the coach as well.
“They’ll want to come here and do a job on us so we have to make sure we’re at out best and that’s been our challenge and our focus this week.
“It’s all in our hands at the moment in terms of making the play-off. We’re aware of were we are sitting at the moment and we are quite decimated with injuries. We’ve still got nine out, but we’re still sat sixth. There’s eight weeks left and it starts this week.”
And Hodgson believes his side have been hampered by the long list of sidelined players in recent weeks, but it pleased to welcome back several key faces to the squad.
“I think during this little period we’ve suffered from not having anyone to come back in. Players know that if they don’t perform then someone can come in and take that spot. We’re getting a little bit back to that and it’s good to have a couple of variations to think about.
“Having those boys back now obviously gives us a bounce straight away and some confidence. We know that we need to perform well and that’s our challenge. Our intensity has been excellent this week. We just need to make sure we’re respecting the eighty minute performance and especially at home.”
He continued: “We’re fully aware of the ramifications a positive can result do for us. The result comes after everything we do in the eighty minutes. We’re focused on performing well.”