Danny Houghton stepping up pre-season at Hull FC

Danny Houghton is stepping on the gas as he prepares for his 16th season at Hull – with fellow hooker Joe Lovodua due to join him in full training.

Fiji international Lovodua, recruited from NRL Grand Finalists South Sydney Rabbitohs, is acclimatising after jetting into the UK.

Homegrown Houghton, who made his debut in 2007, was hampered by a wrist injury over the closing stages of a tough 2021 campaign for the club, during which he made 20 appearances.

The former Super League Man of Steel needed injections to manage what turned out to be snapped ligaments and had surgery in the wake of his last outing against Leeds at Magic Weekend, when he scored one of his three tries for the term in a 25-25 golden-point defeat.

Jordan Johnstone played hooker for the final two games against Wigan and Wakefield as Hull ended with five straight defeats and nine in ten, the exception being their 23-22 derby win at home to Hull KR.

Now Houghton and his team-mates are looking for a big improvement in Brett Hodgson’s second season as coach, with the 33-year-old one-club man back in full training.

“It’s been a little bit frustrating for me over the last month because there have been some drills I haven’t been able to take part in,” said Houghton, who had to wear a cast as part of his recovery.

“But I have been able to do the running activities, so all of my fitness levels are where they need to be at this stage.

“Joining in with full training is a massive positive.”

Kane Evans, the Fiji international prop signed from New Zealand Warriors, is now training with the club alongside fellow new recruits Luke Gale and Darnell McIntosh.

Lovodua will complete the new set, and Houghton told the club website he’s looking forward to working with the 23-year-old.

“It’s great for us and it will push me to keep improving throughout the season, which is still important at my age,” he added.

“We haven’t really spoken about how much rotation there’s going to be in the hooker role, but Joe looks sharp and you like to think he’ll add some zip to the side.”

In 2022 Houghton will retain the Hull number 9 squad number, after the club confirmed its squad numbers for the 2022 Betfred Super League campaign.

Fellow frontrower Scott Taylor was offered the chance to select his own number for the new season and he will wear the number 30 shirt – the squad number he wore when he made his professional debut in 2009.

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