IT has been a case of counting the bodies for ex-Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith as he prepares to return to The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday.

Smith, who enjoyed a successful eight-year spell at The Wire between 2009 and 2017, is now in charge of Round Two visitors Hull FC, who are already having their squad ravaged by injury and suspension.

Three of their most powerful forwards will be missing on Friday through suspension – new signings Franklin Pele and Herman Ese’ese were shown red and yellow cards respectively in the Round One derby loss to cross-city rivals Hull KR, with Pele handed a three-match ban while Ese’ese will miss two games.

Warrington Guardian: Franklin Pele, wearing the scrum cap, is sent off against Hull KR in Round OneFranklin Pele, wearing the scrum cap, is sent off against Hull KR in Round One (Image:

Ligi Sao also saw red in that game and while he successfully had the grading of his charge downgraded from Grade D to Grade B, he will still serve a one-match ban.

From the squad that faced the Robins last Thursday, skipper Danny Houghton is unavailable having failed an in-game head injury assessment while Smith has also lost centre Cam Scott (calf) and forward Joe Cator (hamstring).

There were already existing injuries for key half-back Jake Trueman (Achilles), outside backs Carlos Tuimavave (calf) and Liam Tindall (thumb) and forward Brad Fash (ankle), so it is a largely young squad named by Smith for the trip across the Pennines.

It includes hooker Denive Balmforth, who was an academy player at The Wire before moving back to his native Yorkshire to join Hull in 2022.

Hull FC squad to face Warrington Wolves in Round Two

Tex Hoy, Liam Sutcliffe, Darnell McIntosh, Fa’amanu Brown, Jayden Okunbor, Jordan Lane, Jack Ashworth, Morgan Smith, Jack Brown, Will Gardiner, Davy Litten, Nick Staveley, Harvey Barron, Lewis Martin, Denive Balmforth, Charlie Severs, Matty Laidlaw, Jack Walker, Macca Harman, Jeylan Hodgson, Lennon Bursell