Gentle wants home play-off

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5th September 2013

Hull FC have the chance to set up a second play-off derby in four years when they host St Helens in the final match of the regular Super League season.

Peter Gentle's men, who need a win to be sure of a home tie next week, are currently a point behind Saints but have the chance to leapfrog them into fifth, the position from which Leeds Rhinos have won the Grand Final in each of the last two years.

Victory on Friday night would set up a qualifying play-off clash at the KC Stadium, almost certainly against Hull KR, and give the Black and Whites the chance to avenge a 21-4 derby defeat in the opening round of the 2010 play-offs.

Although Hull lost to Wigan Warriors in the Challenge Cup final a fortnight ago, they are on a roll in Super League with four straight wins and Gentle is hoping they can take that form into the play-offs.

"I certainly think we've learned to tough games out this season," he said.

"All year, we've had to do more tackling than the opposition and it's given us the resolve to win matches with our defence.

"To win our last four matches in Super League in that sort of adversity is a good character trait to develop and it would be a wonderful achievement for the players and the staff to beat St Helens this week, finish fifth and give ourselves a good shot in the semis.

"We want to win tomorrow and give ourselves a home tie, as much for our fans as anything.

"They've followed us away to Catalan twice last year and twice this year, plus a Wembley trip, so it would be good for everybody if we could get that fifth spot."

Saints, too, need to avoid defeat in order to stave off the possibility of a sudden-death trip to Catalan Dragons, who host Warrington Wolves in their final league match on Saturday.

A draw would be good enough for St Helens and the omens are good for three of the last five meetings between the two clubs have ended in stalemate.

They drew 22-22 at Langtree Park in February and it was 18-18 at the KC Stadium last season. The sides also fought out a 24-24 draw at the KC Stadium in 2011 while only Danny Tickle's last-minute drop goal prevented the 2010 fixture ending all square.

Widnes Vikings will be looking to gatecrash Salford City Reds' farewell party at Barton tomorrow.

Lee Gaskell, Jordan James and Ashley Gibson will be among a host of players making their farewell appearances for Salford, who will have a virtual new-look team when they are next in action as the Red Devils in 2014.

Brian Noble's men need a win to ensure they avoid inheriting the wooden spoon from the Vikings, who will climb to ninth, at least for 24 hours, if they end the season with a third successive win.

Among the fascinating sideshows will be second rower Gareth Hock's final appearance of his loan spell with Widnes before he joins the Red Revolution.

Gentle wants home play-off 2013.superleague.co.uk
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