Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity: Coach Chester turns full focus to a top-four finish in Super League after Challenge Cup exit
THE CUP is gone, but Wakefield Trinity can take a step towards Betfred Super League's top-four tonight.
Trinity’s hopes of Wembley were crushed in a 30-6 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final drubbing at Salford Red Devils eight days ago.
But they are fifth in the league table and a win at Hull would lift them one place, above tonight’s hosts and into the play-offs spots.
Hull are on a high after their Cup win over league leaders Castleford Tigers five days ago.
They have a dominant recent record against Trinity, but Wakefield coach Chris Chester reckons his men can bring them down to earth.
“They have been a bit of a bogey side since I have been in charge,” Chester said of Hull.
“They did us three times last year and beat us at the start of the season, but first and foremost we are looking for a response after last week.
“We’re all a bit dejected, disappointed and gutted to be out of the Cup.
“It was a wasted opportunity, but it doesn’t affect what we do moving forward.
“We still want to challenge for the top-four and we are playing a team around us on the table.
“We’ve put last week to bed now and we are focused on Hull and challenging for the top-four.”
Just two points separate second-placed Salford Red Devils from Trinity. The teams from second to fourth are all still in the Cup and Chester said Wakefield need to turn last week’s setback into a positive for their league campaign.
“It means we will get a rest when the semi-finals come around next month,” he said.
“We have got one thing to focus on now, which is getting into the top-four and staying there.
“We have got some winnable games coming up. Three of our last five [in the regular season] are at home and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Hull are on the back of an intense game which was played in stifling heat and that could give Wakefield an edge.
“They were very good, but that game will have taken a lot out of them,” Chester said.
“We’ve had a couple of extra days to recover. We gave the players the weekend off, they came back fresh and they’ve trained well. We have got to control the ball. We were at 53 per cent in yardage last week – we know how to play Salford, we’ve beaten them twice this year, but we didn’t give ourselves a chance with the amount of possession and field position we coughed up.”
Bill Tupou, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tinirau Arona and James Batchelor are back in contention for Trinity after injury and Max Jowitt is also vying for a recall.
On-loan Hull forward Dean Hadley drops out, along with Ashley Gibson and Jordan Crowther.
Hull coach Lee Radford will select from the 17 who beat Castleford, plus Marc Sneyd and Josh Griffin.
Hull: from Shaun, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Connor, Thompson, Washbrook, Michaels, Manu, Bowden, Turgut, Fash.
Wakefield Trinity: from Grix, Tupou, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Finn, England, Wood, Ashurst, Sio, Williams, Arona, Huby, Arundel, Jowitt, Hirst, Caton-Brown, Annakin, Batchelor, Walker.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.