Wigan Warriors v Hull KR: Realistic Danny McGuire urges patched-up Robins to embrace challenge

Danny McGuire is anticipating a tough night for injury-ravaged Hull KR at Wigan Warriors - but the interim boss stopped short of labelling the game a free hit.

Already without 10 first-team regulars, Rovers lost Ryan Hall, Mikey Lewis, Korbin Sims and Jimmy Keinhorst in the wake of last week’s gutsy win over Warrington Wolves.

As many as 15 players will be missing when the Robins travel to the DW Stadium tonight - including squad member Daniel Okoro who has yet to make his first-team debut - and that figure will rise again if Greg Richards fails to overcome a hamstring issue in time.

McGuire has been keen to look at the positives ahead of a daunting date with a Wigan side smarting from a rare off day at Leeds Rhinos last time out.

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Jimmy Keinhorst receives treatment during the game against Warrington Wolves. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“We have a whiteboard at the side with everyone’s name on and the unavailable list on the left-hand side is bigger than the actual available list,” he said.

“It’s challenging and not what you want but it’s the situation we’re in. Basically everybody who is fit is playing this week.

“I’m a realist and understand that playing Wigan away is a tough game at the best of times.

“We’re in for a tough night but I’ve challenged the boys to go there and not be carefree but we’ve got an opportunity to go and do something special. As long as we commit to each other and try our best, that’s all we can do."

Hull KR celebrate Ethan Ryan's try at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. (Picture: SWPix.com)

McGuire has confirmed that young prop Connor Moore - one of several fresh-faced academy products in the squad - will make his Super League debut at the DW Stadium.

The former Great Britain half-back has called on the likes of Lachlan Coote, Matt Parcell and Elliot Minchella to show the way in a game he still has hope of winning.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a free hit,” said McGuire. “I hate playing down any game because they’ve all got their own importance.

“I always used to enjoy going to Wigan and enjoyed the challenge when I played.

Elliot Minchella, pictured, will lead Hull KR in the continued absence of Shaun Kenny-Dowall. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“You’re always in for a physical game against Wigan. They play with a lot of aggression and have got a lot of skill as well.

“I don’t see it as a free hit; it’s more an opportunity for some of our younger players to showcase their abilities and some of our senior boys to lead by example.

“They need to show why we rate them so highly and why they’re really key members of our squad by nurturing the younger blokes.”

As he prepares to send out Moore, Zach Fishwick and Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e against a formidable Wigan outfit with only three Super League appearances between them, McGuire is reminded of his initiation in Rhinos colours in 2001.

The Leeds-born playmaker was celebrating Grand Final glory three years later but endured some setbacks along the way, not least missing out on the 2003 Challenge Cup final.

“I had a decent player that I had to come on for in Iestyn Harris who was probably the best player in the competition at the time,” he recalled looking back on his debut against Salford.

“I suppose my pressure was trying to live up to the best player in the competition.

“That was my challenge and it took a while to establish myself; that didn’t happen overnight for me.

“I’m not expecting these young blokes to come in and play like Iestyn Harris this week - but I’ll expect them to commit to the team and I’ll challenge them in the effort areas to bring energy. I’m sure they’ll do that.”