Match preview: Hull FC v Widnes Vikings
Feka Paleaaesina, Liam Kent and Dean Hadley are brought into Hull FC’s squad for the visit of Widnes Vikings.
But Josh Bowden (ankle) misses out and Mickey Paea begins a two-match ban for making dangerous contact. That is not the total sum of Lee Radford’s worries, either. His prop shortage means that Paleaaesina could be the only recognised front rower appearing for the Black and Whites this weekend. Gareth Ellis may well have to step in and deputise.
Widnes saw their 100% record in 2014 ended by Leeds last time out.
Half-back Joe Mellor dislocated a shoulder against the Rhinos and is unavailable, but Stefan Marsh, Phil Joseph and Paul Johnson return from minor injuries to hand Denis Betts some boosts ahead of the clash in East Yorkshire.
Hull FC: Arundel, Colbon, Crooks, Ellis, Hadley, Heremaia, Horne, Houghton, Kent, Paleaaesina, Rankin, Shaul, Talanoa, Thompson, Tuson, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Brown, Clarke, Craven, Dean, Flynn, Galea, Gerrard, Gilmore, Hanbury, Isa, Johnson, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Phelps, Marsh, Tickle, White.
Widnes are seeking their first victory at the KC Stadium on Sunday afternoon, having lost on all six previous visits. The Vikings also lost their last three games at The Boulevard, with their last away win against Hull FC coming 20-0 in the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup on 25 February, 1996.
Paul Clough needs one appearance to reach 200 for his career. Clough has just begun a season loan with Widnes, and has made 3 appearances in 2014 for the Vikings. He has played 189 times for parent club St Helens since 2005. Clough has also represented England Knights (3 games, 2011-2012) and played 4 games for Whitehaven on dual-registration in 2013.
Kevin Brown needs three tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. His total of 97 has been scored as follows: 31 for Wigan (2003-2006), 51 for Huddersfield (2006-2012) and 15 for Widnes (2013-2014). He also has four non-scoring appearances for England (2010).
Danny Tickle needs three tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. His total of 97 has been scored as follows: 10 for Halifax (2000-2002), 34 for Wigan (2002-2006), 47 for Hull FC (2007-2013), 1 for Widnes (2014), 1 for England (2012) and 4 for England ‘A’ (2002-2003).
Despite that heavy defeat at Leeds last time out, the Vikings had started the season excellently. With Hull’s shortage in the pack there for all to see, the Vikings should be considered favourites, and will get the job done in West Hull.