Hull KR head coach Tim Sheens says new signing Danny Tickle could debut against Leeds Rhinos on Thursday but conceded there is a “tough month ahead” for the newly-promoted club.
Their first game back in Super League ended with a sobering 28-6 home defeat to Wakefield Trinity on Friday.
Earlier that day, they announced the capture of ex-England second-row Tickle, 34, and USA star Patrick Vaivai.
However, though Tickle starts training today, Rovers are unlikely to see former South Sydney centre Vaivai until March and they are also still searching for a new half-back.
“Junior has had South Sydney, St George and Penrith experience,” said Sheens.
“He is a big boy at 105 kilos and will give us more punch in the outside backs.
“His visa is going through at the moment. It could be 10 working days, maybe less, and then we can get him on a plane.
“I am not going to ask him to jump straight in at the deep end but it’ll be handy to have other options. He is fit as in gym-fit as that’s where he works but the big issue will be football fitness even though he played the World Cup.
“Centres though can get away with it a little bit. They are not as hard working as some positions.
“So, once we get him here we will assess him. Tickle will be in training from Monday, whether he finds his way on the bench (for Leeds) is another thing.
“But he is very experienced and is going to help our middles. The goal kicking skill is also there which is a bonus.”
Rovers are already missing Danny Addy, James Donaldson, George Lawler and Josh Johnson due to injuries while former Leeds prop Nick Scruton is unavailabile for the next month after shoulder surgery.
“Over the next five weeks we are going to get one back, one back, one back and then the new signings have got to be introduced,” added Sheens.
“We have got to get through with players playing very little football. So, it’s going to be a tough month.
“But there was enough (against Wakefield) there to say if we improve that, and we can, then we will compete next week; we lost the game but we didn’t get beaten.”