Former Challenge Cup final match-winner Paul Cooke says his old club Hull can still win both competitions this season, despite their indifferent form.
After starting the season back in February with a 30-4 win over Leeds, they have won only three of their nine Super League games since – losing heavily twice to Warrington, including the 38-4 defeat in March that saw Lee Radford sacked.
Andy Last took over and since the restart, they have suffered heavy losses to Salford and the Wolves, either side of a 31-12 win over Huddersfield – as well as having to deal with a coronavirus outbreak within camp.
Writing in his column on Hull Live, Cooke said: “I guess the answer to being capable of winning both competitions is yes. Top four is a possibility and on any given day in knock-out rugby league the players are capable of turning in a performance and winning.
“Whatever the stance coach Andy Last takes on priorities of winning the two games they’ll have to play better than last time out against Warrington.
“It’s in my opinion a must win game against Wakefield if they’re to maintain top four ambitions.”
Hull face Castleford in their re-arranged Challenge Cup last 16 tie this Sunday, with the winner going through to face Wigan in the quarter-finals.
The Airlie Birds have recent history in the game’s oldest cup competition, winning it in back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017, finishing third in the league both seasons.
In this year’s Super League, Hull are six points off the top four having played half of their 20 games this season, although three teams above them – Catalans (three), Leeds (two), Huddersfield (one) – have games in hand.
They lost six of their last seven games at the end of 2019, so have won just five of their last 17 league outings.