Sandercock demands final push from Rovers

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The work required by Hull KR to make much-needed improvements next season starts in earnest when they face London Broncos this lunchtime.

While the majority of Super League clubs still have something to play for this weekend, the East Yorkshire club are seemingly in that barren position where today’s result will matter little.

They may rise one place to ninth but it is still not enough to make the play-offs while they cannot drop any lower than tenth.

London, meanwhile, are locked level in a three-way battle with Castleford Tigers and Widnes Vikings to avoid the ignominy of the wooden spoon so they are expected to fire.

But Rovers coach Craig Sandercock refutes his side’s trip to the capital being a “nothing” game.

Uppermost in his thoughts is starting to address the defensive issues which have blighted his team in his first season in charge.

Rovers were 26-0 ahead against leaders Wigan Warriors at Craven Park on Sunday only to suffer a record collapse which saw them lose 42-36.

It was systematic of their campaign as a whole in which they have conceded on average more than 26 points per game.

“It was pleasing to put 36 points on Wigan as no side has done that this year but the defence was just not good enough and it’s something we’ll work hard on in the off-season,” said Sandercock.

“I’ve been pretty happy with our attack this season but we’ve got to make sure we improve certain areas and I’m fairly confident we’ll be bigger and better next year.

“We’re preparing for London like any other game though; we want to win and do the best we can. If we play like we did at the weekend I’m confident we’ll go okay.”

Sandercock will remain faithful to the raft of youngsters who have come into this Rovers squad of late with winger Nick Johnson the latest to earn his debut after Dave Hodgson was ruled out by a hamstring injury.

London, who Rovers defeated 44-16 in April, have mounted a late revival since Tony Rea took over from Matt Powell last month, winning three of their last four games. They were humbled 30-0 at St Helens last time out but the threat is there.

Sandercock added: “History suggests when there’s a change of coach mid-season, or towards the end, all of a sudden they have a spike and improvement in performance. They’ll want to impress the new coach and it’s up to us to go down with a good attitude.

“I’m surprised they haven’t done better this year.

“At the start they were one of my dark horses to make the top-eight as they have a pretty impressive squad on paper.”