Huddersfield coach Simon Woolford respects Hull KR ahead of clash

Huddersfield celebrate
Huddersfield celebrate

Huddersfield coach Simon Woolford knows Hull KR will be confident of making it third time lucky in Friday's Super League basement battle at KCOM Craven Park.

Woolford's Giants have beaten their round 23 opponents twice already this year but both those matches were at the John Smith's Stadium and Rovers are looking a different side under former Huddersfield coach Tony Smith.

The former England boss has already guided the Robins to surprise victories over two of his old clubs, Warrington and Leeds, in his six matches so far and will fancy completing a hat-trick of triumphs over former employers.

The Giants are above the 11th-placed Robins only on points difference and, after winning just one of their last six matches, Woolford knows his team cannot afford many more slip-ups in their bid to avoid relegation.

"It's critical," Woolford said. "It was critical last week and the week before, every week is a Grand Final for us.

"KR are a formidable team at KR. They had a good win last week and they're going to be confident.

"They will have marked this as a win game for them, no doubt about that."

With St Helens coach Justin Holbrook planning to field a largely reserve team at bottom club London Broncos on Sunday, the losers on Friday could quite easily find themselves at the foot of the table going into the break for the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Huddersfield's next match is against the other team in trouble at the wrong end of the table, Leeds, and Woolford admits the pressure is mounting on his team.

"We put ourselves in this predicament and we've got to deal with it," he added. "If you can't deal with pressure, you don't deserve to be in this game.

"We need to win this week and then we can have a rest with the Challenge Cup before we prepare for Leeds."

Huddersfield have lost experienced prop Paul Clough with a broken hand and that is likely to mean more game time for teenager Oliver Wilson, who was this week called into the England Knights performance squad after just two Super League substitute appearances.

"It's good reward for Olly," Woolford said. "We know he's going to be a fantastic front rower down the track and he's showed a lot of promise in his two games for us.

"He has plenty of fire in the belly. The young guys are doing a good job for us, we just need rest of the squad to follow them."

Wilson, an academy international who is now hoping to play for the Knights against Jamaica in October, admits his call from former Great Britain loose forward Paul Sculthorpe caught him by surprise.

"I've only had two Super League games so it was not in my mind at all," he said. "It was an ambition of mine but I thought for next year maybe.

"I'm really pleased I've got it, though. A few Huddersfield lads will be playing for Jamaica as well so that will be interesting."

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