Sandercock challenges Rovers to cut gap on city rivals

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Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock is urging his side to demonstrate they have what it takes to live with the elite tonight.

As much as it pains Rovers fans to admit it, unfortunately, Hull FC currently fall into that bracket.

Although Sandercock’s side ran amok 70-12 against Castleford last week – their finest Super League win – he realises they must swiftly follow up in the derby at Etihad Stadium.

It is a sign of Rovers’ marked progression that, heading in to the 36-6 Good Friday loss against Hull FC, they had also endured a last-minute defeat at Castleford.

Now, though, they are in much improved form and Sandercock is keen to see their development continue.

“We will be going in with some momentum and confidence and we will need to,” he said.

“Hull FC are way ahead of us on the table, are playing well themselves and we are looking forward to putting in a much better performance than last time.

“It was pleasing to get 80 minutes for the first time against Cas’ and a performance like that.

“We need to transfer that to the top sides and that’s what Hull are.”

Sandercock is excited by the concept of all 14 sides appearing at one venue over the course of a weekend.

He hopes that playing at the home of the newly-crowned Premier League champions can inspire his players.

“It’s a very impressive stadium,” he said.

“It’s a special place to be, especially after Manchester City won the Premier League.

“We’re really excited about it. It’s a special place this one and it’s a pleasure to be here.”

Meanwhile, Rovers captain Ben Galea has revealed he may shelve plans to retire at the end of the season and carry on with the club in 2013.

The Australian, 33, missed the first three months of the season with a knee injury but has returned to quickly rediscover his best form.

Second-row Galea – who joined from Wests Tigers in 2007 – had initially informed Rovers of his intention to pack in.

But he said: “I’m starting to feel like I want to play another year.

“If I do play on it’ll only be for one more year and I’d really like it to be at Hull KR.”

Rovers are likely to be unchanged tonight but second-row Graeme Horne is pushing for a recall against his old club.