Hull FC 'back on track', but Danny Tickle and Liam Watts still out
PETER Gentle says his Hull FC side are back on track after losing some of the momentum built up from their successful week in Tenerife.
Hull returned from the warm weather to be met, like most sides, with frozen conditions which greatly disrupted training.
According to Gentle, it affected their performance in the derby against Hull KR, but the Hull coach admits the weather allowed him to refocus training on areas which needed improvement.
Having enjoyed three successive field sessions following the thaw, Gentle says his team are back on track.
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"When we flew home from Tenerife we did lose a bit of momentum and at the same time the boys were probably moving too quickly for their own good. We were getting ahead of ourselves," Gentle told the Mail.
"Against Hull KR, we looked like a team that had just been thrown in together and I felt I needed to pull us back a bit. We've had a really good week last week and finished that with a good session on the field on Sunday.
"So, we are going into game week in a good state and I'm happy with where we are at."
While his fringe players were employed in the friendly game at York, Gentle oversaw a training session for the team which he plans to unleash on Leeds on Friday night. Three absentees from that training session were forwards Danny Tickle, Liam Watts and Liam Kent.
Tickle had been hopeful of making a return from a bicep injury in the season-opener at Leeds, but that prospect is now looking unlikely.
Watts could also face a further six weeks on the sidelines depending on the assessment of his surgeon.
"Tickle is improving all the time and he's desperate to play on Friday night," added Gentle. "We have the luxury that we don't need to play him against Leeds because we have enough cover now.
"I'm being ultra conservative with Danny and there really is no urgency to bring him back because we are going to need a good season from him.
"As for Wattsy, he's coming on fine but will be anywhere between three and six weeks depending on what the surgeon tells us. It's just a case of having to wait and see, but he's getting a lot of training done, as is Liam Kent, who we are also taking a patient approach with."