Andy Last hoping Challenge Cup ’emotion’ will inspire Hull against Wigan

Hull’s interim coach Andy Last is hoping the Challenge Cup can bring out the best in his players – and the talismanic Marc Sneyd in particular – as they prepare for their third game in 10 days.

The Black and Whites, who won back to back at Wembley in 2016 and 2017, won twice in four days to make progress in both League and Cup last weekend.

And Last is calling for another big effort when they take on Wigan on Saturday for a place in the last four of the Cup.

“Hopefully the emotion of the Cup and what it means to us as a club and as a team will spark them into putting in another energetic performance because that is what will be needed against Wigan,” said Last.

“I expect a big performance from our guys, it’s something that brings the best out of us.”

The quarter-final at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium will mark the timely return of goalkicking half-back Sneyd, a double Lance Todd Trophy winner who has missed the last three matches with a knee injury.

He takes the place of Albert Kelly, who is sidelined with a hamstring problem, but Last insists he is not rushing his chief playmaker back into action.

“We never put a date on it,” he said. “He’s looked after himself and responded very well to treatment. He’s been coming in on his days off to do extra recovery and rehabilitation work.

“We put him in Wednesday’s session and he looked fine. It’s a big boost, if the Cup has brought the best out of anybody, it’s Sneydy.”

Hull are without full-back Jamie Shaul, who failed a head injury assessment, and there will be no imminent return for England second-rower Josh Jones, who Last reveals is still suffering from the effects of Covid-19.

“It’s been very frustrating for Josh,” Last said. “Obviously he’s one of the players who have had Covid and has suffered quite significantly with it.

“He’s got a little bit of inflammation of the lungs, he’s out of breath on the phone, out of breath walking up the stairs and he’s finding it difficult just being an active dad in the garden with the kids, which is quite scary.

“We’ve got to be conscious of the welfare of the player so we’re following the medical protocol and making sure we don’t push him too hard.”

Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin is expected to make his first appearance since February.

The veteran loose forward missed the last four games before lockdown and the first four since the resumption due to injury and sat out the trip to Catalans Dragons last Saturday as a precaution after a family member had shown symptoms of Covid-19.

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