Brett Hodgson is bracing himself for a St Helens reaction when his Hull FC side take on the beaten Betfred Challenge Cup semi-finalists on Friday night (St Helens 1/4, Draw 20/1, Hull FC 10/3 – Match Result).
Saints were knocked out of the Cup by Wigan last weekend and will be eager to respond when they welcome the Black and Whites to the Totally Wicked Stadium for the Betfred Super League clash.
Kristian Woolf’s side are top of the table going into this weekend’s fixtures and are 10/11 to be crowned Grand Final winners this year while Hull are down in fifth, four points adrift.
Hodgson knows just how dangerous the leaders are on the back of a high-profile defeat and says the visitors, who are 25/1 to be crowned champions this season, will need to be at their best to take anything from the game.
“They don’t often lose two in a row, and so we are expecting the best version of St Helens,” Hodgson told the Hull FC website.
“Our preparation this week has been knowing that we’ll need the best version of ourselves, as well. Should we deliver that, just as we did against Warrington, Catalans and Toulouse, we’ll give ourselves a great chance of being in the contest.”
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Hull have won their last three Betfred Super League games and have had a free week to prepare for Friday’s match-up as they failed to make it through to the last four in the Challenge Cup.
Hodgson added: “We’ve now had a few really good sessions this week leading into St Helens and I’m looking forward to seeing a performance that we can be really proud of.”
Josh Reynolds and Luke Gale are available again following suspension for Hodgson’s side, while both Adam Swift and Josh Griffin are fit following foot and knee injuries.
Kane Evans, Harvey Barron, Denive Balmforth and Davy Litten all drop out of the Hull squad and Mitieli Vulikijapani, Andre Savelio, Joe Cator, Ben McNamara and Cameron Scott remain sidelined.
James Bell returns for Saints after serving a two-match ban, while Jake Wingfield is back after injury but Will Hopoate and Regan Grace have not been named in their 21-man squad.
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