HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens maintains morale is not down at the East Yorkshire club and, rather, they sense a victory against the “big boys” is coming soon.
They do not get much bigger than Leeds Rhinos, so, given the champions are in town tomorrow, Robins fans will be hoping the veteran Australian is showing some genuine prescience.
Regardless, with just one win in their last five Super League outings, they certainly do need something to kickstart their progress however it comes about.
Life has not been easy since returning to the top-flight this term and they currently sit just two points above bottom-placed Catalans Dragons, but Sheens remains adamant their spirit is intact.
He said: “We’ve not dropped our heads. I know we have only won three games but we’ve been in a couple more.
“We’re disappointed with a few but morale is high and there’s a win coming soon – against the big boys – I think.
“We’ll see what happens this week but everybody has to bring their A-game and then you can beat anybody.”
Leeds have won on their last five visits to KCOM Craven Park and also edged out Sheens’s side 20-11 at Elland Road in February.
But he said: “What happens in the past means nothing other than in your own head that you believe you can win.
“You’ve got to have a belief in your own ability and your mates’ ability, and you can trust them to stand by you when you face these sort of sides.
“That’s something we still have in the club and if you lose that, you get ‘beat’ instead of ‘losing’ a game. The group are very keen to work for one another and we always have a chance if that is the case.”
Rovers vanquished part-timers Oldham 32-0 in Sunday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie and Sheens makes plenty of changes for tomorrow’s game.
Crucially, former Leeds captain Danny McGuire is back having finally sorted a long-standing rib issue and Justin Carney returns following a week of compassionate leave in which the winger headed home to Australia.
Former Rhinos forwards Chris Clarkson and Robbie Mulhern are back from suspension and injury respectively and hooker Tommy Lee is also included in the 19-man squad.
Josh Johnson is banned while Matty Marsh, Will Oakes and Will Dagger also drop out to make way.
Former Bradford Bulls back-row James Donaldson is set for his 150th career appearance.
Leeds, meanwhile, have prop Brad Singleton back in the mix as they seek to avoid a third successive defeat.
Strangely, Brian McDermott’s side have lost by just a solitary point in each of their last two games – falling 19-18 at Hull FC last week and 9-8 at home to Wigan Warriors the week before.
“Losing by one point two weeks running can go either way in the mentality of the team,” said Sheens.
“From our point of view – and for the game to work in our favour – we’ve got to keep the pressure on Leeds and play really well.
“We’ve got to start well. We get a bad start and they get points early doors, it could be a disaster and they could go for the throat.
“From our perspective we have to start strong and stay with them.”
They certainly started well the last time they met the West Yorkshire club racing into a 10-0 lead at the home of Leeds United.
“What we take out of a game like that is we know that we were in it,” added Sheens.
“We could have won that game. Leeds know that too, and they know they got away with a few things that night.
“Both video-ref decisions went against us, a few things went their way and the momentum swung in their favour.
“It’s ages ago but I think we’re a better team now than then.
“It was only our second real game given the shortness of our pre-season and with key players out. We’re a different team to then and hopefully better for it.”