Andy Last has looked ahead to the Black & Whites clash against Wigan in the Coral Challenge Cup quarter-finals, saying an eighty minute performance is needed from his side to have any chance of getting past the Warriors.
Hull face Adrian Lam’s side in a repeat of the 2017 Final which saw the Airlie Birds earn their second consecutive victory in the competition.
With Last expecting a strong performance from Wigan, he spoke in depth of the tough task ahead for his side with a third game in less than two weeks for his side.
Speaking on the challenges of preparing for a third game in ten days in his pre-match press conference, brought to you in association with Jacuzzi®, Last said: “This week we were scheduled to train Monday through to Wednesday but after assessment on Monday and doing recovery and review, we made the decision to give them the Tuesday off. That serves a real purpose for us as there was a real spring in their step when they came into the camp on Wednesday.
“Even that session was a short one though and we had to be aware of some of the numbers we were getting back on the GPS and heart rate monitors. It’s been difficult and it will be really tough having a third game in ten days, but hopefully with it being a cup match, the emotion involved and knowing what it means to us as a club can really get us up for it. We need an energetic performance against Wigan.”
On the Warriors, Last added: “They’re hard to beat, well-drilled and have a very strong culture. With regards to whoever is playing for them, young blokes or senior ones, they’re going to play for eighty minutes. You know that you won’t run away from them on the scoreboard.
“They have some real quality in the likes of Bevan French, Tommy Leuluai, Jackson Hastings and Sam Powell in their spine. Its full of experience and creativity. We’re going to have to be at the top of our game to beat them.
“I’m expecting a big performance from our guys. The cup brings out the best in us and we know we’re going tom have to play for the full eighty to get a result.
Andy Last also commented on the potential return of Marc Sneyd to action this weekend having been named in the 21-man squad.
Sneyd has been out of action since last month’s victory over Huddersfield nursing an ankle injury, with the half-back originally expected to miss up to two months of action.
“There is a good chance that he will play,” he added.
“He has followed all the protocols since getting the injury extremely well. He’s been wearing the boot and looking after himself. We got the MRI scan back and there wasn’t as much damage to the ligament as we first thought, there was just a lot of swelling.
“The physio and medical team have done a really good job of pushing Marc from a physical point of view. We hadn’t actually targeted this game for a return but on Wednesday during the course of a session, he jumped in and did a couple of reps and he looked fine with no bad reaction to the session. He feels good to go so he could get the opportunity to play tomorrow.”
“It’d be a big boost to have him back. He is a great organiser for us and has a great kicking game and this competition has notoriously brought the best out of him in the past.”
But Last praised fellow half-back Jake Connor for standing in in the role over the last few weeks.
“Jake has done a great job. He has assumed that role of game control and organising.
“I knew it would take time for him to find the lungs and legs of that position; half-back is very different to centre with more involvements and you have a lot more responsibility across the entire team rather than just your own position.
“He’s shown some great progression from that first game against Warrington at Headingley through to Wakefield and Castleford. He showed some nice touches and has really started to mature into that position. It’ll be great to see how he goes again on Sunday.”
With Jamie Shaul also missing having failed a Head Injury Assessment on Sunday, Last explained that young full-back Connor Wynne will step in.
“Connor will slot in for Jamie. We have big expectations for him. He is very athletic and strong. He is still finding his feet in the full-back role but he showed enough in that Wakefield game to get an opportunity. He is tentious and brave.
“As a Hull-boy, he knows how much the Challenge Cup means to the club and we’re expecting a big afternoon from him on Saturday.”