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Super League: Hull KR v Wigan Warriors preview
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Super League returns on Thursday with Hull KR looking to keep their outside hopes of a playoff spot alive against Wigan Warriors at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
The Robins went down to eighth-placed Widnes Vikings before the break for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-finals, meaning they are three points adrift of their rivals with four to play.
Champions Wigan come into the game on the back of a 45-4 thumping of Salford City Reds, although they were beaten 16-8 by Bradford Bulls the week before.
Wigan would move to the top of the table with a win against Hull KR on Thursday with current leaders St Helens not playing Wakefield at home 24 hours later.
Hull KR coach Chris Chester has made three-changes to his 19-man squad which suffered defeat to the Vikings in round 23 earlier this month.
Craig Hall, Rhys Lovegrove and Sonny Esslemont are all drafted in to Chester’s squad with Omari Caro, Connor Robinson and centre Kris Welham making way.
“We’ve done a bit of soul searching and had a few heart to hearts. We’re very disappointed, we were dishonest against Widnes and we have addressed that in training over the past two weeks,” Chester told the club’s official website.
“Hopefully we’ll get some kind of reaction. We still believe we can get into the playoffs. There are still eight points up for grabs and we have to make sure we put a good display in on Thursday and get a result.
“It’s a tough ask but I watched the Bradford game in depth and they showed it can be done. They got in their faces early and we have to make sure we have a good start and stay with them.”
Wigan welcome back playmaker Blake Green from injury. The Australian, who is joining Melbourne Storm next season, has not played since rupturing biceps in their Magic Weekend win over Leeds Rhinos.
Eddy Pettybourne also returns after suffering a jaw injury a month ago in 37-16 defeat of Catalan, however, Michael McIlorum and Iain Thornley, who are training with the first team, sit the game out.
"Hull KR is a tough place to go, it is an old style ground and they are a good team,” Wane told the club’s official website.
“They are well coached by Chris Chester who I know well, so he will have them very motivated as they want to get into the top eight and ensure their season does not end in four games time.
“We got our fingers burnt at Bradford and Wakefield, so I am sure we will go there with a good attitude, and our players understand that the games left are all like Grand Finals.”
Hull KR: Burns, Carlile, Chan, Cockayne, Costigan, Cox, Eden, Esslemont, Gardner, Green, Hall, J. Hodgson, Horne, Keating, Larroyer, Lovegrove, Netherton, Salter, A. Walker.Wigan Warriors: Bateman, Bowen, Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, L. Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Green, Hughes, Manfredi, O'Loughlin, Pettybourne, S. Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Taylor, Tomkins, Williams.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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