'Five' changes, but Hull FC can beat leaders Huddersfield, says Gentle
HULL FC coach Peter Gentle is confident they can rise to the challenge of facing Super League's in-form side this weekend – despite having to make big changes to his side.
Gentle expects to have 'four or five' new faces facing Huddersfield on Saturday from the side which hammered Castleford 52-0 last week, as injuries and suspensions limit his options.
It will see him leave his final team selection as late as possible in the hope some prove their fitness in time.
But, even if his side does travel to the league-leaders some way under-strength, Gentle is confident they can be a match for the Giants.
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"We've got quite a few problems this week and we had a patched up team run yesterday," Gentle said.
"I've given everyone in the squad until tomorrow to prove their fitness, but I envisage having four or five new faces in the team on Saturday night because it has been one of those weeks for us.
"Even though we've had a long turn around there are a lot of boys struggling on the field, so I am hoping tomorrow brings more joy."
Despite not having the best week's preparation, Gentle says he is confident his side has the right attitude to deal with the difficulties and says being under-strength will not be used as an excuse for under-performance.
"I'm not concerned because the four or five faces will fit in, and what this does is give those guys who haven't had an opportunity this year their chance," he said.
"It's not ideal, but the guys coming in are itching for their opportunity and I'm confident that whoever is out there Saturday will do us proud."
Having returned to winning ways in the best possible style last week against the Tigers, Gentle was quick to ensure perspective was brought to proceedings at training.
Much as he didn't get too carried away following the disappointing loss to Widnes a week earlier, the FC coach has ensured the focus this week has again been on improving.
"We put the victory to bed by Monday morning and forgot about it," he said.
"We didn't dwell on the losses too long and it is important we don't dwell on the wins too long too. We have shown our worst and our best in the space of a fortnight so we have to get some consistency into our performance.
"We haven't spent too long looking in the mirror about what happened in previous weeks, it's about looking forward and we have a very big game this week."
Whilst missing the likes of the suspended Danny Tickle and the injured Kirk Yeaman, Gentle will be boosted by the availability again of winger Jason Crookes, whilst centre Ben Crooks and prop Chris Green are also fit again.
Aaron Heremaia is one of the players Gentle is giving extra time to prove his fitness after suffering a rib injury against Castleford.