With a mounting injury list it’s a pretty mean achievement that Hull FC are in the run in for the top four, and that’s a view head coach Lee Radford shares.
The Black and Whites remain two points behind fourth-placed Castleford and could actually go two points off second placed Wigan should they beat them this upcoming Saturday.
But it’s that fight that’s pleasing Radford – with several younger members of the squad excelling during Fridays 45-14 win over Salford.
“It’s one of the most pleasing wins of the season,” Radford said in his post-match press conference.
“I expected some fatigue, not only physically but mentally as well. For the first 40 minutes there was no sign of that whatsoever. You wouldn’t have guessed what we’d gone through on Sunday.
“We’ve got eight or nine blokes missing but there’s eight or nine blokes gaining experience. We’re not where we are because of our big players. We’re where we are because of the job the lower numbers in our squad have done when they’ve come in. They’ve been outstanding.”
The likes of Jez Litten, Jack Downs, Jack Logan, Liam Harris, and Hakim Miloudi took plaudits in Friday’s victory – with Jake Connor again extending his England claims.
Hull lost Joe Westerman to a knee injury in the first half, and chose not to bring back on Mark Minichiello and Scott Taylor, effectively playing the second half at least with just one interchange.
For Radford though that’s not a problem, with the battling qualities shown by his side delighting the Hull-born coach.
“We’ll start building when we get some numbers back but at the moment we’re fighting hard,” he continued.
“The experience that some of the blokes are gaining now will hopefully make us stronger moving forward.
“The difference between 2018 and 2017 is that we’ve not been put to bed by anybody. In every game we’ve played in we’ve fought and it’s a real credit to the culture of the group.”
On the other side, Salford coach Ian Watson was not pleased with the performance of his side, which saw them go into half time 37-0 down.
The Red Devils are on an unfancied losing streak, and look destined for the Qualifiers.
“Every defeat puts you in a pressure situation and every week gets harder and harder,” Watson admitted. “The worrying thing is we’re continually coming up with these silly little errors.
“Our ball retention has to be gold and until we sort that out we’re not going to compete against any side.”