Hull FC head coach Lee Radford believes his side are peaking at exactly the right time following their 32-24 Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Castleford Tigers.
The Black and Whites set up a semi-final showdown with Leeds Rhinos following an impressive win over the Super League leaders - their third win in succession.
And Radford insists that the performance put in by his players shows they are coming into form at a crucial stage of the season.
“All pre-season we banged the drum about making sure we peak at the right time,” he said.
“And this is the juicy bit of the year now, this is where the excitement starts. You need to make sure you’re spiking in those knockout games and spiking at the end of the season and we’ve certainly showed a spike in our performance today.
“The media didn’t really give us any chance in this game and I think when the draw came out, the amount of pumping up of their tyres that Castleford had really lit a fuse with some of our players which they needed.”
Having held a 14-point lead with 10 minutes to play, Hull were made to endure a nervous last few minutes after Greg Minikin’s late try in the corner.
However they remained well-organised in defence for the remaining minutes, something Radford was extremely pleased with against a dangerous side.
“Castleford are top of the tree in Super League and rightly so, I think Daryl Powell’s done a super job but knockout football is where you’ve got to be at your best.
“Towards the back end of the game they went from one touchline to the other and the key for us defensively was that we stayed shoulder to shoulder and nobody jumped out of the line.
“If we had to sacrifice a few metres then so be it, but we scrambled really well for each other and I was really pleased with the way it went.”
Radford’s side were drawn against Leeds Rhinos in the semi-final, a game the Hull FC boss is already looking forward.
“It’ll be a tough game. Our recent record against them isn’t the best so it’ll be a challenging game but an exciting one,” he said.
“Yorkshire derbies are always exciting games to be involved in.”