LEE Radford admits his head is on the chopping block in Hull – then again it has been for five years.
The Hull FC boss is the favourite to be the first one to lose his job after a wretched run of 11 straight losses at the end of last season.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford admits there will be a huge reaction, whatever the result against Hull KR
Fans grew disgruntled, owner Adam Pearson vowed changes in the squad and supporters of rivals Hull KR lapped up the collapse.
So it is no surprise to Radford that he is leading the Super League sack race as he said: “My head’s been on the block every year.
“But I think I’m the longest-serving coach in Super League now, so I’ve done all right.
“I understand how Adam is, he needed to blow off and let off some steam but I knew where we were. However, there’s pressure on me regardless.
Hull FC star Jake Connor misses tonight’s derby after picking up a suspension
“It was pretty soul destroying in some periods last year. I live in it but it wasn’t just me, there’s Danny Houghton and Jamie Shaul are from the same estates as I am, so I know what they were going through.
“I wanted to try and fix it and help but we didn’t have enough at our disposal. Deep down, we knew the 17 we were putting out wouldn’t get a result against teams going for a top four spot.
“Those on the other side gave it but they were in the Qualifiers, so they didn’t have much to brag about. It didn’t stop them though as they had success in that competition, it was like they’d achieved something.
“Eight games before the split we were sat in fourth then we lost three players at Featherstone in the Challenge Cup. Then it was another two, then another three, we then lost Danny Houghton and had three in the sin-bin at St Helens in the Cup, it was surreal.
Radford led Hull FC to back-to-back Challenge Cup wins at Wembley
“Then when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. In the last game at Wigan we had just 17 fit players. I couldn’t name an 18th man as I didn’t have one and I hope I never see it again!”
2019 has already started with injuries as half-back Albert Kelly misses the opening weekend derby at Rovers with a shoulder problem while Fetuli Talanoa, Joe Westerman and Josh Bowden have knee worries and Chris Green an Achilles problem.
England man Jake Connor is also banned but Radford insists last year’s nightmare is a motivation and there will be an extreme reaction whatever the result.
He added: “The end to last year and the suffering we went through was pretty painful, so getting off to a good start is hugely important. For us, it’s a great motivator too.
“If we win we’re going to the World Club Challenge. If we lose, everyone will want my head – nothing changes in Hull.”
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