HULL KR legend Phil Lowe has challenged caretaker head coach Chris Chester to prove he is capable of taking on the job permanently.
Chester, 35, has been promoted from assistant following Craig Sandercock’s surprise sacking on Thursday.
He will be in charge until the end of the season as the Rovers hierarchy take their time to make the right appointment for 2015.
But Chester, the ex-Halifax and Wigan stand-off who also played for both Hull clubs before a neck injury forced an early retirement in 2008, will get a first chance to impress when Super League high-fliers St Helens arrive at Craven Park tomorrow.
And Lowe, who helped Great Britain win the 1972 World Cup and served Rovers as a player, coach and now director, is eager for him to make an impact.
“Chessie will know himself what’s been going wrong with the side and he’s got the chance to put it right,” said the 64-year-old.
“He has half a season now to make a point for himself and prove his worth.
“You never know how things will pan out after a decision like this (coach’s sacking).
“Some players who weren’t getting a game might think they’ll get a chance now or those who have been favourites might not think they will be anymore. Only they know how they will react.
“But it is a winnable game against Saints. The league is so strange at the minute that it’s not who you play but when you play them. Who’d have thought Saints would have been beaten 42-nil like they were in France recently or that Wakefield would defeat Wigan?”
Lowe has some sympathy for Sandercock, the Australian who has been in charge since the end of 2011 but was dismissed with Hull KR in ninth place just three points away from the play-offs.
“I’ve backed Sandy an awful long time,” said the revered former second-row.
“It’s always a difficult decision to make and he did have a lot of bad luck with injuries. But so did other clubs and you can’t keep using that (as an excuse).”
The interim coach makes three changes to the side that lost 26-22 at home to Huddersfield Giants.
On-loan Catalan Dragons second-row Kevin Larroyer returns from a broken leg, 20-year-old back-row Sonny Esslemont is in line for a debut and winger Omari Caro comes in for Ade Gardner, the loanee who is unable to play against his parent club.
Hull KR utility back Craig Hall, 26, has signed a two-year deal with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats starting at the end of this season.