HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens expects an intense battle with Leeds Rhinos tomorrow night as he feels it is a game both sides have to win.
It is still only early in the season but Thursday’s televised clash at KCOM Craven Park has real importance for these Yorkshire clubs.
Rovers are seeking to win for the first time in four games while Leeds sit bottom and managed only their second victory all year when they pipped Castleford Tigers in Golden Point extra-time last Thursday.
“They’re going to come out very enthusiastic,” said Sheens, big-spending Rhinos having ended a five-match losing sequence.
“You saw the way they celebrated last week, getting that monkey off their back.
“There’s a long way to go for them and us; both sides need to win this game.
“Sometimes you want to win and sometimes you have to win and both clubs I think have to win so it should be a fairly intense game.”
With that in mind, Rovers are pleased to see the influential duo of Danny McGuire and Robbie Mulhern return from injury.
“Danny McGuire got through (today’s practice) and Robbie Mulhern so unless something changes over night changes that they’ll be available for the squad,” said Sheens, about the former Leeds pair.
“We trained very well this week, albeit it’s more towards the end when we’ve got everyone on the park.
“Sometimes ten rounds in that’s the way it is; sometimes it’s the last training session before you can pick your squad.
“But I have been pretty happy with their attitude.”
Rovers almost won at leader St Helens on Friday but, being further strengthened, they will be more confident of ending their losing run when Leeds arrive tomorrow.
McGuire’s experience at half-back is always telling but Mulhern, too, brings much-needed power up front where Rovers have been badly lacking props with Lee Jewitt, Nick Scruton and Ryan Lannon all sidelined.
“For ages we’ve been struggling through the middle and not having to play George Lawler at front-row tells you we’re looking a little stronger,” added Sheens.
“We still have some problems in that area with people not playing but hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get stronger especially for Easter.”