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Super League: Tough test for Hull FC

Beverley FM’s new signing, rugby league reporter IAN JUDSON, previews Friday night’s games for our two Super League clubs . . .

Hull FC will attempt to bounce back to winning ways after last week’s derby disappointment against bitter local rivals Hull KR at KCOM Craven Park, as Betfred Super League runaway leaders St. Helens arrive at the KCOM Stadium (7.45pm).

Coach Lee Radford named his 19-man squad for the daunting test against Saints, with the main headline being provided by former captain Gareth Ellis returning to the side after being sidelined for nearly two months with an achilles injury.

Albert Kelly, who missed the game against his former club, is also back in contention after training all week, while Joe Westerman has suffered no ill-effects since dislocating his knee in the derby and retains his place in the squad.

The previously in-form Airlie Birds will go into the game as obvious underdogs after the defeat last week, in a match which centre Carlos Tuimavave said they effectively beat themselves.

Despite that setback, however, there is previous evidence to allow the Black & Whites cautious optimism. Whenever the Airlie Birds have disappointed one week with a poor performance, each and every time this season they have then immediately bounced back and produced a reaction with an outstanding performance.

This factor, along with the return of Ellis, will have Justin Holbrook’s side twitching at the thought of a Friday night trip to a Hull side who are still competing on both fronts, and who have in previous weeks produced excellent attacking displays, particularly in wins away to Castleford Tigers (31-18) and Catalans Dragons (50-10).

Hull FC squad: Jamie Shaul, Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Josh Bowden, Mark Minichiello, Joe Westerman, Jake Connor, Chris Green, Brad Fash, Sika Manu, Mickey Paea, Ratu Naulago, Gareth Ellis, Andre Savelio

St. Helens squad: Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, Luke Thompson, Joseph Paulo, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Morgan Knowles, Kyle Amore, Dominique Peyroux, Adam Swift, Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth, James Bentley, Lachlan Coote, Matty Costello

Referee: Chris Kendall