Hull KR will be out to restore their advantage over bottom side Wakefield Trinity when the sides meet on Sunday afternoon, kick-off 2pm.

The teams had contrasting results on Thursday night, with Rovers losing to Castleford Tigers and Trinity securing a late win over Huddersfield Giants.

Here, KR reporter James O’Brien previews the match at Belle Vue.

Inspiration needed

It is a game both teams could do without, yet one neither side can afford to lose.

Rovers and Wakefield were both in action on Thursday night and have just two days to prepare for what is effectively a wooden spoon decider.

In a season when wins have been at a premium for the bottom two, it is difficult to see either team clawing their way off the foot of the table in the remaining four games.

Trinity have the momentum but as we have seen already this week, that can quickly be snatched away from you.

Rovers were in decent shape going into the Castleford clash but lost their head coach on the morning of the match and spent much of Thursday afternoon stuck on a bus.

It was the third time in as many weeks that KR have had a delayed kick-off and there were signs of physical and mental fatigue in their performance at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The Robins couldn’t live with the Tigers early on and for the fifth time in six weeks the game was lost before half-time, the exception last week’s match against a heavily depleted Salford Red Devils.

It is a testing period for the players – without even considering the outside noise – but they need to find some inspiration from somewhere if they are to avoid a first Super League wooden spoon.

Harvey Livett should start in the second row and he is due a big performance.

He enjoyed a fine start to the year but his form fell away and he has featured only three times since the restart after it became clear he will not be at Craven Park in 2021.

Of the other fresh bodies, only Will Tate is guaranteed to be in KR colours next season.

William Tate of Hull KR dives on a loose ball only to see his try disallowed
William Tate of Hull KR dives on a loose ball only to see his try disallowed

An influential performance from an off-contract player in an important game could convince Tony Smith that they are worthy of an extension.

Smith’s team against Castleford was largely made up of players contracted for 2021 and it was a worrying performance in that sense.

He will demand a response from his players – albeit from home – and they need to convince the supporters weighing up whether to renew their memberships that they care after several lacklustre showings.

If Rovers do go down at Belle Vue, they need to go down swinging.

Prediction: Wakefield by 12

What they said

Chris Chester

We had a never-say-die attitude towards the back end. I thought we were worthy winners.

We know we’ve still a lot to work on, one result doesn’t make a season, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, it gives us something to work with.

It was a good performance and that needs to be a benchmark now.

David Hodgson

It’s back to the old Easter periods at the back end of the season. We’ve got games to fulfil but it’s tough for everyone at the minute.

We’ll see how our boys have pulled through and see who’s fit and healthy.

We’ve got a few fresh bodies and we’ll speak to Tony and see what we want to do and work a plan out.

One to watch out for

Wakefield had to dig deep to get the better of Huddersfield and once again Kelepi Tanginoa led the way in the pack.

The prop was a standout for Trinity during their long losing run and produced another big effort on Thursday, making 154 metres from 16 carries in addition to 33 tackles with no misses.

It remains to be seen how much juice he has left in the tank but he won’t need too much if KR defend like they did against Castleford.

Where Rovers can get at Wakefield

Trinity threw a lot into securing their first win since March and it is a big ask to back that up after a late finish in St Helens.

The sides have similar turnarounds but it would have been an early morning return home for Wakefield on Friday.

After a series of sluggish starts, KR simply have to win the energy battle.

Team news

Hull KR are set to freshen things up with Tate and Nathaniel Peteru among those in line for recalls.

Livett, Dan Murray, Kyle Trout, Jamie Ellis and Ryan Brierley are the other fresh bodies in KR's 21-man squad for a crucial game.

Kane Linnett, Matt Parcell and Weller Hauraki drop out of the side that lost to Castleford.

As many as 10 players are set to back up against Wakefield, a fixture which comes just four days before a derby meeting with Hull FC.

Matty Storton is out with a torn quad, while Jimmy Keinhorst remains in quarantine after receiving a positive coronavirus test result and Owen Harrison is building himself back up after a bout of illness.

Adam Quinlan, Jez Litten, Ethan Ryan, Greg Minikin, Mitch Garbutt, Joe Keyes and Anesu Mudoti remain sidelined by injury.

Wakefield squad: Alex Walker, Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou, Reece Lyne, Ben Jones-Bishop, Jacob Miller, David Fifita, Kyle Wood, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, James Batchelor, Chris Green, Adam Tangata, Jordy Crowther, Max Jowitt, Brad Walker, Ryan Hampshire, Yusuf Aydin, Kelepi Tanginoa, Innes Senior, Eddie Battye.

Hull KR squad : Ben Crooks, Shaun Kenny Dowall, Jordan Abdull, Robbie Mulhern, Harvey Livett, Dean Hadley, George Lawler, Dan Murray, Kyle Trout, Will Dagger, Mikey Lewis, Nick Rawsthorne, Matty Gee, Will Maher, Elliot Minchella, Jamie Ellis, Ryan Brierley, Nathaniel Peteru, Will Tate, Rowan Milnes, George King.

Hull KR return to action next week

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Stats

Last 10 meetings:

Hull KR 30, Wakefield 12 (SLR1, 31/1/20)

Hull KR 10, Wakefield 38 (SLR26, 18/8/19)

Wakefield 6, Hull KR 10 (SLR5, 10/3/19)

Wakefield 54, Hull KR 18 (SLR14, 6/5/18)

Hull KR 6, Wakefield 28 (SLR1, 2/2/18)

Wakefield 16, Hull KR 54 (SLR17, 2/6/16)

Hull KR 12, Wakefield 14 (SLR11, 21/2/16)

Hull KR 20, Wakefield 18 (S8Q-R4, 6/9/15)

Hull KR 54, Wakefield 6 (SLR14, 7/5/15)

Wakefield 44, Hull KR 24 (SLR2, 15/2/15)

Super League summary

Wakefield won 13

Hull KR won 12

Wakefield highest score: 54-18 (H, 2018) (also widest margin)

Hull KR highest score: 70-14 (H, 2011) (also widest margin)