The England international will miss the game at KCOM Craven Park after receiving a one-game suspension for using foul and abusive language to an official during their friendly against St Helens.
He was sin-binned in the game and Hull appealed the ban but saw it upheld yesterday.
It has created problems for his side given Connor - usually a centre for his club - was going to switch to his preferred position of stand-off against Rovers to fill in for the injured Albert Kelly.
With rookie Liam Harris also injured, Radford is left with few options to partner Marc Sneyd.
On the suspension, he said: “The precedent has been set.
“Hopefully they will stay consistent with that and any foul language towards an official will lead to you getting penalised.
“Unfortunately we found out the difficult way. As long as they are consistent, I have no issues with that.
“I’m not a fan of being in an official’s face anyway.”
The decision shows the governing body is serious about cutting out that form of ill-discipline; for all the sport wants to showcase its stars - and Connor is undoubtedly one of them - the powers-that-be will not go easy just because it takes out one of them for the campaign’s opening weekend.
As for Radford’s options, he has Danny Washbrook - the veteran utility - and Kiwi centre Carlos Tuimavave in his 19-man squad, along with Frenchman Hakim Miloudi who isn’t named.
“It’s naturally going to change the way we play,” he said.
“We only have one more sessions to tweak it and we are going to have to adapt; we would love Alby or Jake there but we don’t have those options.
“We could go with the maverick option where he might do something incredible but he might also do several bad things.
“Is the one good thing going to be enough to get you the result? You don’t know. That’s Hakim.
“With Carlos you know he’s going to do you a job in the halves but it means taking away one of your strike centres.
“Then there is Washy who epitomises steady and is reliable. He will do you a good job and is a seven out of ten every week.
“Naturally without Jake and Alby, some of our blokes need to give us a spark that’s for sure."
On Kelly, Radford added: “It's a four to six week injury and he's done two.
"Hopefully we can get a quicker recovery than that.
"There is some inflammation of the AC joint but it’s just a bang and not a dislocation.
"Obviously he's a loss but, with six quality players out, it's just going to make the victory even more special."
Hull are also missing injured props Josh Bowden and Chris Green as well as ex-England loose forward Joe Westerman and winger Fetuli Talanoa.
Matty Dawson-Jones and Danny Langtree could make their debuts along with Jordan Thompson who starts his second spell with the Airlie Birds.
Hull KR, meanwhile, pick from strength with five of their new signings hoping to debut.
Kane Linnett, Josh Drinkwater, Weller Hauraki, Jimmy Keinhorst and Mitch Garbutt are all included in Tim Sheens' squad with the only obvious omissions being long-term absentees Adam Quinlan and Shaun Lunt plus injured props Lee Jewitt and Nick Scruton.
Speaking at a joint-press conference today, Sheens said: "We have to prove ourselves in real terms and when you compare our last three years across the river we are behind.
"We need to step up.
"I think we’re aware of the size of the game - you guys are making us aware of that.
"The first sets will be good. I wouldn’t like to be the first prop taking it up."