Rugby union: Hull must end slump to avoid relegation battle
TWELVE months ago, Chris Murphy was preparing Hull for a trip to Preston Grasshoppers knowing promotion via the play-offs was still within their grasp.
Now, his side face two massive home games which could determine whether they get embroiled in this year's relegation battle.
Dudley Kingswinford and Westoe travel to Chanterlands Avenue in the next two weeks and Murphy has his sights set on maximum points from both contests.
"It's a different kind of pressure to last year," Murphy told the Mail ahead of tomorrow's clash with Dudley.
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"Ourselves and Caldy were in a battle for the play-offs last year and now we are both at the other end of the table.
"Tomorrow is a massive game for us because if we don't get the win, it puts even more pressure on the Westoe game next week.
"Westoe have been in the bottom three all season, but they are making life hard for teams."
Hull find themselves fifth from bottom and in severe need of wins, having won just one of their last seven as their injury list shows no sign of easing.
But Murphy isn't prepared to use that as an excuse as his side look for back-to-back wins for the first time this year.
"We have 44 points right now," said Murphy.
"If we can get to 60 points I'll be happy and the quicker we get there the better.
"But it depends on other results between now and the end of the season.
"The good thing is that our destiny is in our own hands.
"The thing about this league is that two wins can lift you up the table in no time."
Hull go into their double-headers low on confidence after losing 48-15 at league-leaders Stourbridge.
With five of the first-team's six second rowers out injured, Murphy could do with a change in fortune.
"We were really down to the bare bones last weekend," he added.
"We could only manage four players on the bench which didn't help us out.
"We had a prop playing in the second row and we were always up against it. But the young players that have come in have done really well for us.
"We created chances and hopefully we can continue to do that in the coming weeks."
Murphy and his brother Phil are unlikely to play but Lee Radford may be available again and it is hoped evergreen prop Kris Fullman will be back.