Returning quartet to boost Hull
Injury-depleted Hull FC welcome back captain Lee Radford, Shaun Berrigan, Gareth Raynor and Motu Tony for Tuesday night's live Super League game against the Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.
Hull's squad has looked terribly thin in recent weeks with a big injury list but the Airlie Birds will be delighted to have these four back in the squad. Last time out the side capitulated against the Warrington Wolves at the KC Stadium. Despite leading 14-6 at half-time Richard Agar's side fell to a 18-16 loss.
Radford returns after just missing the Warrington match, while Berrigan has been absent for three matches and Raynor and Tony will make their season debuts having been injured since last season.
Hull go into the match as the 4/1 outsiders with the Rhinos strong favourites at 1/7 to win the match. While Leeds should win the match the bet could be Hull to win on the main handicap line, which gives Leeds a 14-point start with both sides priced at 10/11 and the draw 14/1.
The returning quartet should give Hull that extra bit of quality on the pitch and enable them to at least be competitive at Headingley. However, in the defeat to Warrington both prop Peter Cusack and forward Danny Washbrook went off injured and they are two more long-term injuries for Richard Agar to deal with.
In recent weeks Hull's forwards have been unable to get on top in matches and they appear to have a lack of mental strength as when they go behind they look in trouble.
Having said that Leeds have not been that impressive in recent weeks which makes the 1/7 about them to win unbackable, while they should have enough to win the match there is enough of a doubt to not back them at the price.
The Rhinos have lost their last three matches at Headingley with defeats to Harlequins RL and Salford City Reds in the Super League and to St Helens in the Challenge Cup. Since their last home match they have won two in a row on the road with wins against the Catalans Dragons during the Magic weekend at Murrayfield and last time out against the Castleford Tigers.
The match against Castleford was affected by torrential rain which made it a great game to watch but it took a last-gasp Danny McGuire penalty to win it for the defending champions.
Coach Brian McClennan has named an unchanged squad for the visit of Hull with last week's first-half injury victims Rob Burrow and Scott Donald winning their fitness races.
Burrow scored the first try against Cas and he is 14/1 to do the same against Hull. On Tuesday club legend Keith Senior will make his 300th appearance for the Rhinos after agreeing a new one-year contract on Friday and he can celebrate in style by crossing the line at any point during the 80 minutes at odds of 5/4.
This Super League clash should be an intriguing contest as Leeds will hope to close the gap on the top two in the table, St Helens and Hull's fierce rivals Hull KR. While it will be interesting to see how much Hull improve with their returning quartet back in the team.