Radford out for Dragon double

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20th June 2014

Hull FC coach Lee Radford is hoping for a "shot in the arm" when his side take on Catalan Dragons at fortress Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday.

The Dragons are proving near invincible at home, where their only defeat this year was at the hands of Leeds Rhinos back in February, and they are fresh from a 42-0 rout of St Helens a week ago.

But the Black and Whites pulled off a surprise 24-13 win on their last visit to Perpignan for a Challenge Cup quarter-final last July, overturning a 30-4 defeat there in Super League a month earlier, and Radford says confidence is high following their back-to-back 50-point wins over London Broncos and Widnes Vikings.

"Hopefully the dry track suits us because we have got a quick backline and the job is to get over their middle to obviously put our back line into a bit of space," Radford said.

"There are going to be no excuses when we get out there. We know it is going to be hot and we have got to adapt to that and that is part of the challenge. It will be a war of attrition on Saturday for 80 minutes.

"The opportunity to be a point behind Catalan in the league table is really important to us and the same with Widnes, then all of a sudden you are back in the fold and as a squad we have looked at that.

"This trip is a fantastic trip to go on because if you can go out there and get a result it can be a real shot in the arm for your season."

Catalan forward Elliott Whitehead, whose excellent form in his first full season with the French club earned him a call-up to the England squad, admits his side take pride in their impressive home record.

"We are good at home," he said. "We get a great crowd and that helps us a little bit.

"Our form is not too good away so, if we could take our home form away with us, we'd trouble a lot of teams. We should have won the game atHullin the first match of the season."

Hull won that game 36-34 after both teams missed a host of goalkicks and Radford admits the Dragons are unrecognisable from the team that struggled in the early part of the season.

"Watching the game last weekend you could see the improvement in their game," he said.

"Saints turned up physically to match Catalan but I think what they did after the contact was really loose and they didn't get the peel out or their ruck tempo right.

"Catalan punished them for that because along with Leeds Rhinos they are one of the best sides in the competition at playing up-tempo, and that showed in some of the tries that they scored."

Huddersfield Giants will be looking to extend their winning run against London Broncos to 15 matches when they host Super League's bottom club on Saturday afternoon.

The Giants, who have brought the game forward by 24 hours to give themselves more time to prepare for Thursday's trip to Hull KR, have not lost to the Londoners since 2008 but they were given a scare earlier this season.

The Broncos led 16-10 at half-time at The Hive in their first match under new coach Joey Grima before eventually being overpowered and he is hoping they can turn their improved form into a first win against the in-form Yorkshiremen. 

"Huddersfield have been great," Grima said.

"They can certainly set up some shapes and tries and they have some big men through the middle of the field.

"I've got a lot of respect for Paul Anderson as a coach and I think their six, seven and one are one of the best combinations in the competition.

"For us it's about playing football in both halves. We need to ensure they we stay with them throughout the game and not go into defensive mode."