Gentle fancies play-off chances as Hull FC hammer Huddersfield
PETER Gentle insists Hull FC are not in the play-offs to make up the numbers and will head to Warrington keen to prove it.
Hull set-up a Saturday night clash with the Wolves after clinching their first play-off victory in five years with a 46-10 defeat of Huddersfield Giants at the KC Stadium.
The eight-try display from Hull offered encouragement they can upset the odds and beat the competition's second-placed side.
Despite Hull's convincing defeat of the Giants, Gentle insists his confidence remains the same as he knows what his team are capable of if they maintain their recent team performances.
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He said: "We are not here to make the numbers up. Every play-off has a dark horse. Maybe that's us, but we don't consider ourselves dark horses, we consider ourselves one of six teams left with a chance of winning the competition.
"We had four games left to play, now we've got three. I am no more confident now than I was last week as I know what we are capable of.
"When we are playing as a team we are very good. For the last few weeks everyone from one to 17 has been putting it in and we've been getting what we deserve.
"It's been a terrific team effort and that's from the players to my staff. In the preparation everyone at the training ground has put the work in and as a team they've given me everything."
Hull scored 46 points against a poor Huddersfield side, including a brace of tries for Tom Briscoe and Jamie Foster. But it was Hull's defensive resolve, particularly in the first half, which laid the platform for their success.
Paying tribute to his side's defensive display, Gentle says he has set a target for his team to become the best defensive unit in Super League.
He added: "The best defensive side will win this competition. After watching St Helens and Wigan this weekend, they set the bench mark, but I thought we matched it.
"We gave ourselves a good chance through our defence, I thought our defence was terrific. Our forward pack stood up to a much bigger forward pack and took it to them from the start. The guys coming off the bench kicked on from where the others left off, it was a really good team effort."
Hull's victory came with key duo Sam Moa and Danny Tickle watching from the stands after both failed to pass fitness tests in the build-up.
Moa, who is returning to Australia at the end of the season, could return from a three-month absence at Warrington next week, but Tickle is less likely to feature and his season could be over.
Gentle added: "Sam and Danny will be assessed week by week. Sam didn't reach the targets we set and Danny had a set-back in training with his bicep injury so we are letting it settle down and we'll see."
MARTIN Aspinwall may still have a future at Hull, despite the club confirming last week that he wouldn't be offered a new deal.
Aspinwall gave a season-best display against Huddersfield, with a club source confirming to the Mail afterwards that the forward could still have a future, although no deal had been offered yet.