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Round 26 - Friday Game Preview:
Bradford v Hull, third place up for grabs
Challenge Cup winners Hull have an opportunity to leapfrog form team Bradford into third place in Super League when they meet at Odsal.
Both sides have made timely signings in the shape of Sione Faumuina and Adrian Morley in a bid to help them reach Old Trafford but Hull coach John Kear admits the losers at Odsal will almost certainly have to get there from outside the top three.
A run of five straight wins have propelled the Bulls into third spot, a point ahead of the Black and Whites, for whom two consecutive home defeats could yet prove costly, and Warrington.
?It?s a play-off for third place,? admitted Kear. ?Should Bradford beat us, then I think they?ve virtually secured third place.
?Should we beat them, then I think it puts us in a very strong position to secure it ourselves. I think it?s a really important game. It?s a shame it?s so soon after the final with just a six-day turn-around but I suppose it?s the price you pay for success.?
Hull knocked the Bulls out of the Powergen Challenge Cup but they have won only once in nine engage Super League matches at Bradford - a 26-18 triumph last year - and they have already lost twice to them in the League this season.
A resounding 42-10 win at Leeds in their last match a fortnight ago has sent confidence soaring in the Bradford camp but coach Brian Noble is taking nothing for granted.
?They have broke the monopoly of the big four and that will give them confidence,? he said. ?They defeated some very good teams on the way to winning the Cup so they know what they can achieve now.
?There is nothing they would like better than to back up the cup win with a trip to Old Trafford and come away with the Grand Final as well so this will be a big opportunity for them to make progress.
?They may still be on a high from their cup win and we need to quickly bring them back down to earth.?
Noble has included forward Rob Parker in his 18-man squad but is likely to stick with the team which beat Leeds, meaning there is still no place for Great Britain winger Stuart Reardon.
Hull are without two of their Cup-winning team, stand-off Richard Horne (ankle) and prop Garreth Carvell (wrist), so Liam Higgins and Graeme Horne, the two players to miss out at Cardiff, are recalled to the side.
Bradford 18-man squad: Vainikolo, Deacon, Fielden, I. Harris, Withers, Johnson, Lynch, B. Harris, Parker, L. Pryce, Peacock, Paul, Vagana, Langley, Hape, Meyers, Radford, Henderson.
Hull 18-man squad: Blacklock, Yeaman, Raynor, Dowes, Swain, King, McMenemy, Kearney, Cooke, Tony, Thackray, Saxton, Chester, Higgins, Brough, McNicholas, G. Horne, Whiting.
Referee: A Klein
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Thanks to www.superleague.co.ukfor this great article.