Hull FC coach Lee Radford believes some much-needed off-field stability is helping Friday’s opponents Salford finally realise their potential.
Two of the early-season top four clash in an eagerly-anticipated clash at the KCOM Stadium – with the Red Devils arguably the big surprise package at the start of the new season.
And Radford thinks that while the ability of Ian Watson’s squad has got them this far, he thinks a much more calm atmosphere off the field – pointing to the social media activity of some of the club’s hierarchy – at the AJ Bell Stadium is also helping.
He said: “I think they have a lot of players in the squad that are playing to their potential. One to 17 are all at the top end of their game, and that has got them results this season. Their form is the big thing.
“But they’re probably more stable off the field as well. There’s none of those tweets going around recently. There’s security within the staff – that’s been settled now – and gone are the days where they’d be signing every man and his dog and everyone would be getting the sack the week after. It seems to be more settled and that suits them.”
And Radford also believes it’s encouraging to see Salford make waves at the top of Super League.
He said: “Definitely. And it is still early in the season. You still get that spike from one or two teams who probably won’t be there at the back end. Over the next three or four games after Easter, you tend to get a feel of where you will be at and for them, picking results up against us will put them in that category.
“Likewise, we have to perform to get the result.”
Radford will bring Jake Connor into his preferred position of half-back in the absence of Albert Kelly – and he is hopeful that a strong performance will give him some selection issues over Easter when Kelly returns from compassionate leave.
“One man’s loss is another man’s gain,” he said. “That’s what we brought Jake Connor in for, a spot in a role he holds kind to his heart – so hopefully we can see him put a performance in tomorrow that gives me some headaches the week after.”
Winger Fetuli Talanoa also returns.