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Hull FC forced into more changes as injuries and bans pile up

Hull FC head coach Tony Smith

Hull FC have had a torrid start to the season with their only victory coming via a last-gasp winner against London Broncos with the Black and Whites booed off the pitch by their own fans in spite of the win.

They’re also been Super League’s most ill-disciplined side as they’ve racked up the bans which has often left them playing a man short, adding extra fatigue and pressure onto the other players.

As such injuries have now also become a problem and that’s no different this weekend ahead of their Challenge Cup tie with Huddersfield Giants as head coach Tony Smith told BBC Humberside that he could be without two senior players.

Both former captain Carlos Tuimavave and current captain Danny Houghton left the field during the humiliating 54-6 loss to Leigh Leopards and Smith has now provided an update on them, explaining: “We’re still waiting on further results on Carlos. Danny’s okay, he’s coming through and he’s a touch and go for this week.

“Carlos might be available for this week, but we’re not quite sure of the extent and we’ll investigate further before we work out exactly how long Carlos will be missing.”

Danny Houghton brought up his 400th Super League game in that defeat to Leigh and the Hull FC legend seems intent to play in the Challenge Cup this weekend Smith revealed.

He said: “Danny’s a chance for this week and pushing hard to be available for selection. He doesn’t want to miss out on too much at the moment, maybe we limit his times or how we use him as well, there’s some of the options but we’ll assess all that.

“If he’s good to go, it’s hard to leave him out. He’s a warrior and he loves the Challenge Cup and he loves being involved. He’s had some really big moments and great affinity with the Cup so he gets up and ready for the Cup.”

More selection issues for Tony Smith

Hull FC

Credit: Imago Images

Two other potential injuries picked up in that loss to Leigh were also in the spine with Fa’anamu Brown and Tex Hoy leaving the field but Smith confirmed the duo had simply suffered “knocks rather than anything that would prevent them from from taking the field for this week”, indicating both men will be fine.

One man who will miss out is Franklin Pele with the prop forward picking up another suspension, although Smith wasn’t too sure on the merits of this one compared to his Round One ban.

Smith explained: “It was an enthusiastic tackle, you know. Was it a little bit too enthusiastic? Well, it’s been deemed that way. He didn’t do anything intentionally wrong.

“The bloke in front of him is the dummy king and Frank was just trying to make a tackle on him. He couldn’t see whether he’d released the ball or not, if it was it was a high tackle or he was you know doing something similar to his last misdemeanour then I’d suggest so but he was a fraction of a second late and it’s hard for some of those big men in fractions of seconds to pull hand brakes on.”

All that has left much anticipation as to what sort of squad Hull FC can actually name for the clash against Huddersfield with the Black and Whites having already turned to the loan market to acquire Matty Russell and Joe Bullock, the former being injured and the latter recalled to Warrington already.

Hull FC name 21-Man squad amidst injury and suspension woes

Hull FC captain Danny Houghton

Credit: Imago Images

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield Giants, Smith has now named his squad and he makes just two changes.

Those changes see the suspended Franklin Pele and injured Carlos Tuimavave drop out to be replaced by youngsters Davy Litten and Harvey Barron.

Jake Trueman (Achilles), Brad Fash (ankle), Joe Cator (hamstring), Mitieli Vulikijapani (knee), Zach Jebson (ankle), Jack Walker (hamstring) Kye Armstrong (shoulder) and Cobie Wainhouse (knee) all remain sidelined with injury, while Jack Ashworth serves the second of his two-match suspension.

Jake Connor features after only being fined for his involvement with Mikey Lewis which saw Connor seemingly knee the KR star in the head, prompting Lewis to leave the field and subsequently fail a HIA.

The decision to not ban Connor was called into question by Rovers head coach Willie Peters who had stated how he deemed it somewhat unfair that they’re without Lewis and yet Connor remains available for Huddersfield.

Captain Luke Yates hasn’t been named in the squad and neither has Chris Hill meaning the Giants are without two of their senior stars for the clash on Saturday.

1. JAKE CONNOR
2. ADAM SWIFT
3. ESAN MARSTERS
4. KEVIN NAIQAMA
5. JAKE BIBBY
6. TUI LOLOHEA
7. ADAM CLUNE
9. ADAM MILNER
10. JOE GREENWOOD
11. JACK MURCHIE
14. ASHTON GOLDING
15. MATTY ENGLISH
16. HARRY RUSHTON
17. OLLY WILSON
18. SEB IKAHIHIFO
19. THOMAS DEAKIN
21. LEROY CUDJOE
22. HARVEY LIVETT
23. OLLY RUSSELL
24. SAM HALSALL
26. HUGO SALABIO

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