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Super League match preview: Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos
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Leeds Rhinos will be out to halt a three-game losing streak when they tackle in-form Hull FC at the Kingston Communications Stadium on Friday night.
The Super League champions have followed up their Challenge Cup exit to the Huddersfield Giants with league defeats to St Helens and now top-of-the-table Wigan Warriors in the Magic Weekend.
In contrast, Hull are a side on the up with Peter Gentle's team entering Friday's game having won three straight since losing to Wigan in April, including wins over London, Warrington and Hull KR.
There was a touch of fortune about their triumph over the Robins last Saturday with video referee Steve Ganson failing to spot Chris Green in an offside position from Danny Houghton's kick and subsequently awarding a try.
Hull make two changes to their squad with forward pair Joe Westerman and Ben Galea returning after recovering from thumb injuries.
They replace Jason Crookes and half-back Richard Horne, with the former Great Britain international having injured his foot at the Magic Weekend.
Hull toppled the Rhinos on home soil in last season's corresponding fixture and head coach Peter Gentle has labelled the match a 'win at all costs' encounter.
"Friday can't come soon enough," Gentle told the Hull Daily Mail. "We won't sit back thinking we can afford a couple more losses, Friday is win at all costs.
"It's a great challenge. We're up against the 'champion' side, but we are up for it."
Brett Delaney is back for Leeds after missing the game against Wigan because of exhaustion. The Australian collapsed at the end of the game against St Helens and missed the Warriors clash.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan prepares to make his 300th appearance for the west Yorkshire club.
"We have named an unchanged squad from last week and will go to KC Stadium in a positive frame of mind," said Leeds head coach Brian McDermott.
"Brett has been immense for us this season and always puts his hand up for more hard work. He is carrying a number of injuries and cannot train for the majority of most weeks but come game day he is there for his team mates.
"Jonesy is one of those people in life who makes you glad you have met them and he is an inspirational character within our group. Playing wise, he is producing some of his best rugby at the moment."
Hull FC: Bowden, T. Briscoe, Crooks, Ellis, Galea, Green, Holdsworth, Heremaia, Houghton, Johnson, Lineham, Lynch, McDonnell, O'Meley, Pitts, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Moore, Singleton, Vickery, Sutcliffe.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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