Hull KR v Castleford - Home form is key for Robins’ play-off aspirations, says Willie Poching

Hull KR's Kieran Dixon in action during yesterday's disappointing defeat at Newcastle to city rivals Hull FC.
Hull KR's Kieran Dixon in action during yesterday's disappointing defeat at Newcastle to city rivals Hull FC.
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HULL KR hope their renowned home strength can form the bedrock of a surge back into play-offs contention.

Chris Chester’s side have not lost at KC Lightstreams Stadium since the opening day of the season against Leeds Rhinos.

They hope to make it six straight wins there when they host Castleford Tigers tonight, the start of four homes games in June, including a Challenge Cup quarter-final against Catalans Dragons.

Video: Classmates on collision course for crucial test

With the side currently in 10th place, assistant coach Willie Poching admits they have to make the most of that advantage.

“It’s the start of a very big month, not only in respect of having a run of home fixtures, but also in context of the season and where we’d like to finish,” he said.

“We’ve been good at home and hopefully that’ll continue over the next four weeks.

“Hopefully we’ll start to get some players back to fitness and put out a team that reflects something close to the people who we thought would be in our starting 13.

“We can’t worry about teams around us in the table, above us or below us, we’ve got to focus on ourselves each week and that makes this Castleford game the most important of the season.”

Furthermore, Hull KR need a display especially given Saturday’s 46-20 Magic Weekend debacle against rivals Hull FC, a loss that left them nearer the dreaded Middle Eights.

Crucially, they are still missing injured props but scrum-half Albert Kelly and centre Liam Salter return tonight to bolster them elsewhere.

“It’s obvious that we are pretty light at the moment down the middle and any coach worth his salt will look to that area as a gameplan against us,” added Poching, as they face a Castleford side four points above them.

“We’ve got to muscle up; we’re expecting it, but preparing for it is one thing and executing it is another.

“If Castleford try to take us on down the middle, we’ll do our best to combat that and do our best to go against it.

“We did a pretty good job on the main against Leeds when they did it to us and when Wigan did it to us in the cup, we handled that very well.

“We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and do it again.”

Ex-Keighley Cougars centre Elliot Cosgrove will make his debut for Batley Bulldogs at home to Sheffield Eagles tonight after signing from Hunslet Hawks.