Jayden Okunbor set two key challenges ahead of Hull FC Reserves run out

Hull FC's Jayden Okunbor is looking for a confidence boost playing in the reserves.
Hull FC's Jayden Okunbor is looking for a confidence boost playing in the reserves. -Credit:SW Pix

Jayden Okunbor will feature for Hull FC Reserves at St Helens this Saturday afternoon, with Simon Grix setting the Australian forward with two key challenges. Playing for Francis Cummins' outfit, Okunbor has a checklist to tick off, with the player set to turn out in the middle at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Grix wants to see Okunbor, who had played in all of Hull's eight first-team games this season prior to Friday's Super League game, get his hands on the ball more and carry, with his involvements off the ball just as important.

For Okunbor, who is determined to improve his form, it's all about getting involved and picking up some confidence, with Hull taking on the Saints in the Reserves Championship in their fourth game of the season to date.

"It would be unfair to single him out because, as a side, we haven't been anywhere where we need to be, but Ock would be the first to tell you that he's not happy with his form and he's not played at the level we need him to play at," Grix told Hull Live. "Honest conversations have been ongoing, and he has been working hard, but I felt it might do him some good to go play in the reserves and get some confidence back.

"I think until you are truly confident in yourself, I don't think people around you are going to feel that from you. I'm not sure you can fake it, and with the start we've had and the pressure that goes in overseas signings at every club, and he's had a bit on him, he's got an opportunity to have a reset and go have a run out with those young lads and work on those things we've spoken on and give himself an opportunity to come back.

"Those things for Ock are his energy and work rate in the game. He's going to play middle for us with the reserves. I just want him to be available and get his hands on the ball.

"His movements when he hasn't gotten the ball are also really important. We see a lot of the landmark things that happen in a game, but for a high percentage of the game, you haven't got the ball in your hands, and it's really important what you do when you haven't got it. So Ock is going to go there, have a good attitude, apply himself, and see what it looks like next week."

Cummins will also field Liam Tindall and Jack Walker in the reserves side at St Helens. Walker will make his return from a hamstring injury, while Tindall is set for more game-time after featuring in the win over Huddersfield Giants at this level two weeks ago.

"We've not seen a lot of Liam because of his injuries, and that's why he needs to get more time in the reserves," Grix added. "Jack is going to play forty minutes. It's a live training session, really. We just need to make sure he's ticking the boxes so he's ready to come back and get in contention for the first team."

Hull Reserves Squad: Lennon Bursell, Lennon Clark, Oliver Farrar, Owen Haldenby, Mackenzie Harman, Charlie Harris, Jeylan Hodgson, Will Hutchinson, Ben Johnson, Will Kirby, Junior Mafi, Sully Medforth, Jayden Okunbor, Callum Shaw, Jude Thompson, Liam Tindall, Jack Walker, Ryan Westerman

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