Hull FC happy with Ellis, Minichiello boost

Hull FC will be without Frank Pritchard and Sika Manu against St Helens but welcome back Gareth Ellis and Mark Minichiello for the Challenge Cup game.

Prtichard and Manu have returned to Australia this weekend to play for Samoa and Tonga respectively.

But Hull FC coach Lee Radford is pleased to have veteran forwards Ellis and Minichiello available for the visit to Langtree Park.

“Obviously we’d have loved to have had Frank and Sika available but that isn’t possible with them both captaining their countries,” he said.

“We have Gaz and Mini back which will provide a huge boost. I’m really looking forward to it. With Cup rugby, you only get one bite of the cherry, so we need to make sure we turn up with the right attitude.

“Our support at St Helens last month was outstanding and obviously we are expecting a similar, if not bigger, following this week. The fans had a real effect that day, especially in the second period, so we are hoping they will have the same impact again.

St Helens lost their Super League encounter with Hull FC at Langtree Park a few weeks ago by just one point and coach Keiron Cunningham is expecting another tough encounter.

“It was a good game the last time we played Hull FC,” he said.

“We fought until the last minute and had our shot at a field goal whilst they took theirs. This time, with some of our starting players back, I’d like to think we would be better than on that night.

“It’s an important game for us – but every game is, and we will go out and prepare well. Sika Manu and Frank Pritchard will be missing for them and of course, the least amount of good players playing for them is better for us.

“But they will bring back Ellis and Minichiello and they are good players. They are the form side in the comp and will take some beating.

“We have a real affiliation with the Cup in this town and were close to going to Wembley last season. I’m sure the fans will turn out for us; they have been immense in the last couple of weeks.”

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