Gentle looks for consistency

Hull coach Peter Gentle takes his side to Widnes on Saturday night desperate for them to build up some momentum ahead of the end-of-season play-offs.

Despite a raft of changes before the start of this campaign, the Black and Whites have found consistent form hard to come by for a number of reasons.

Once again they have been riddled with injuries, while debates over a number of players' contracts have often overshadowed on-the-field matters. But last weekend's 30-10 win over fellow title hopefuls Catalan means they are not out of the running to finish third and a win against bottom side Widnes would strengthen their case.

Gentle knows a victory is important to that end but also with a view to building up some form as the play-offs approach.

"The win last week was a needed one against a top-four team," he said. "We probably should have rested quite a few players in order to win our last three games, but it was important for us to get a win.

"We still have a lot of players with bumps and bruises but that's the same for everyone at this time of year. What we need to do is get some consistency.

"Earlier in the year we showed that we can string games together and at the back end we have to be the same going in to the semi-finals. The whole place needs to be confident and winning games breeds that. We have won three of our last four and we need to go in to the semis on the front foot."

Also in action on Saturday night are Leeds who, a week out from their Challenge Cup final date with Warrington, head to France to face Catalan. Such a long trip is not ideal in the build-up to the Wembley showpiece, especially as coach Brian McDermott tries to keep his squad in one piece.

He has already lost Danny McGuire with a knee injury while Rob Burrow (calf) is a doubt. Veteran prop Jamie Peacock is back from a rest, though, as is Jamie Jones-Buchanan, although McDermott does admit to having concerns about them too.

"Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jamie Peacock and Rob Burrow are all carrying knocks but JP should be back and Jonesy should be back this week," he said. "Rob has got a bit of a calf injury and obviously Maggsy is out so we have got a bit going on but you expect that at this stage of the season."