Hull derby on a knife edge

Hull FC finally had to call off their Super League fixture against Leigh Centurions that had been scheduled for Sunday afternoon after a third member of their senior squad tested positive for the virus, with a fourth symptomatic player awaiting the result of a PCR test on Saturday.

And it adds uncertainty to the Hull derby, which is scheduled to be played this Thursday night at Hull College Craven Park and is due to be screened live by Sky Sports.

Four more members of Hull’s top 25 paid players were also required to isolate as close contacts, taking them to the threshold of seven senior players becoming unavailable as a result of Covid-19, which permits a postponement.

All the positive cases are understood to have arisen from outside the club environment.

Hull coach Brett Hodgson, in a media conference last week, revealed that he was having to isolate as a result of having registered as being in close contact with someone who had tested positive, although he wasn’t positive himself.

But he had been planning to hand the coaching baton to his assistant coaches Kieron Purtill and Gareth Ellis.

“I tested negative yesterday,” Hodgson told the media on Thursday.

“But if you are at risk you have to do the right thing and follow the correct procedure.”

And Hodgson could still be self-isolating when the Hull derby is played this Thursday night.

“There is a chance of missing the derby, we’ll have to see how we go,” he said.

For that game, if it goes ahead, Hodgson expects Carlos Tuimavave to be available, as well as having Adam Swift, Shaun Lane and Danny Houghton all back in contention.

The position of Josh Bowden is more uncertain, but it could be too soon for his return from injury, while Jake Connor and Scott Taylor will both be on the sidelines for several weeks yet.

“Masi Matongo is back on the training field, good to have him back on the field with the boys.

Our physios are doing a great job with him, as is Masi.”

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