HULL KR coach Craig Sandercock will have a nervous wait this morning as he prepares for his side’s captain’s run.
That is because, though they are rightly confident after four successive wins, the East Yorkshire club has been hit by an illness bug which threatens to derail plans for tomorrow’s game against Salford City Reds.
At the last count, seven players had been struck down with the illness which saw Sean Gleeson, Liam Salter and Rhys Lovegrove all miss last week’s impressive win at St Helens.
Travis Burns, Evarn Tuimavave, Jordan Cox, Mickey Paea and Con Mika have since been affected and so it could be a case of counting fit bodies at training today.
“We’re still missing quite a few boys,” admitted Sandercock, who, though naming all but Gleeson in his 19-man squad yesterday, knows things could still change.
“Rhys Lovegrove and Sean Gleeson have still both been quite ill and it is a bit of a concern. It’s been travelling through the camp and Travis Burns and Jordan Cox have both had it since too.
“Hopefully we’ll get it over and done with soon and we’ll get a few players back.
“We’ll have to see how we shape up come Sunday.”
It would be frustrating if Rovers’ impressive form was checked in such circumstances but Sandercock is keen to ensure his squad – whoever takes to the field – remains fully focused on Salford.
The visitors may be second bottom in Super League but they easily dispatched of London Broncos last week and he said: “Salford have some big boys in their side and any team is capable of winning any game in this league.
“They have a full-strength side available and come here on the back of a good win last week so the last thing we want to do is under-estimate them.
“We have got to have the right attitude and make sure we play as well as we have in the last month.
“We’ve been away from home recently in Perpignan and at Saints. That’s meant we’ve been underdogs both times.
“We’ll be expected to win this game, though, and we’ve not had that pressure for a while so we need to respond and make sure we deliver.”
On his side’s return to form – if they win tomorrow it will be the first time in four years they have prospered in five consecutive games – Sandercock added: “The players have been solid but there’s still room for improvement.
“I think what’s changed is that the boys are really aware of their roles in both attack and defence now.
“When you know exactly what your role is it makes it easier to perform individually and as a team.”