It’s been a hectic week of transfer speculation for Hull FC fans, autumn always brings numerous comings and goings for clubs but where the Black & Whites are concerned, this offseason is about fine-tuning a squad that already has a strong core to it. Naturally, this brings some difficult decisions to the forefront for the Club’s Management team. As speculation increases about the arrival of a certain scrum-half and various departures, now is the time to stand by Radders. Having delivered silverware in 2016 and developed a squad of great potential, the only way to reach the next level is to buy into his philosophy. After a difficult start to life at the KCOM, he has gradually moulded the squad that he believes can deliver the goods. Nevertheless, he still has many aspects to consider before the big kick-off in February:
Could Kelly kick-on at FC?
Somewhat of a thorn in the Black & Whites side over recent years, allegiances aside, there’s no doubting the pedigree of Albert Kelly. However, a poor disciplinary record in recent seasons for Hull KR has rightfully caused some concern for fans. He does appear to fit the bill for an area in the running halves where we often lacked ignition. While Carlos Tuimavave didn’t particularly do anything wrong playing stand-off, the extra competition certainly wouldn’t do any harm. With the likelihood of strict contractual terms to adhere to, I doubt Kelly would attempt any previous antics with Radford. At 25 years old, he is reaching a crucial stage of his career and a partnership with Marc Sneyd could be explosive, whether it manifests itself in a positive manner remains to be seen…
Frank the Tank roaming to pastures new?
Another story that has divided fans is the potential exit of Frank Pritchard, as revealed exclusively by Up the Cream. Billed as the marquee signing at the beginning of the season, Frank began 2016 in typically barnstorming fashion. Asked to play in the front-row for most of the season, he made the hard yards in an unfamiliar position. On a personal level, I really think he made a big impact on the squad with his animated nature and wealth of experience. Whether his performances on the pitch were comparable to his reputation is another question. I dare say after some strong early-season performances, that some form of debilitating injury may have hindered him. With regards to squad depth, Frank’s impending departure gives FC’s wealth of forward options such as Jordan Thompson, Dean Hadley, Jansin Turgut and Ross Osbourne a chance to shine, which could soften the blow.
Abdull’s temporary relocation to the Robins
Yet another story to hit the headlines this week. When I read about it, I have to say I wasn’t overly concerned. In fact, gametime at a more competitive level is exactly what Jordan needs to break into the first-team at Hull. Showing flashes of his capablities in the first-team and regularly for the Under 23s last season, he will more than likely feature week to week for the Dobbins in the Championship. I see a great future at Loose-forward for Jordan and the Dobbins would be missing a trick if they didn’t give him the opportunity to play there. Physically robust but intelligent with ball in hand, gametime will increase fitness levels and we could see a polished performer returning to West Hull in 2018.
More cap space equals more areas to recruit
Briefly returning to the Pritchard saga, as a marquee player he also commands marquee wages and if he does depart, money will become available for further strengthening. Motu Tony and Adam Pearson have both stated that Hull are in the market for an outside back. With Curtis Naughton and Callum Lancaster both showing great potential, it does seem an unexpected area to identify. We can only assume that doubts remain regarding their future. If so, after stellar seasons for both Steve Michaels & Fetuli Talanoa, perhaps what Radford is targeting is a natural speedster in the form of Jodie Broughton or Mason Caton-Brown, who has the devastating pace to evade defenders. It’s not an asset we’ve had since the days of Tom Briscoe and to a lesser extent – Tom Lineham. While Pritchard would be sorely missed, the opportunity to strengthen a squad that will need depth in a tough season of fixtures could be a master-stroke.
No doubt the offseason will bring many more twists and turns. In typical FC fashion – we can learn to expect the unexpected! Like the side did in 2016 for so many of its successes, the fans need to have absolute faith in Lee Radford. Kelly is definitely a calculated risk and Pritchard would in some respects be missed but hindsight is a wonderful thing for the armchair viewer. If Radford can ignite our most succesful period for over a decade, then let’s reserve judgement until Round 1 in 2017.