Injuries sour Hull KR's derby win over Hull FC
HULL KR coach Craig Sandercock admits yesterday's 28-18 derby win over Hull FC was soured by injuries to three key players.
Centre Kris Welham and second rowers Con Mika and Cory Paterson are all now doubtful for the Super League season opener against Catalan on February 3.
Vice-captain Welham, who has only just returned from seven months out with a broken ankle, was taken to hospital for x-rays, having suffered a suspected broken hand.
Paterson injured his shoulder in the first half, while Mika limped off with a groin injury.
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It has left Sandercock having to devise new plans for the season's start, as he admitted he already had a 17-man squad in mind for the Dragons' clash.
"I had my 17 players decided for the Catalan game before these injuries happened and they have thrown a spanner in the works now," Sandercock said. "I feel deflated because we have three injury problems and there could even be more.
"It's a case of monitoring them all now in the next two weeks before the Catalan game."
Rovers have built a youthful squad boasting plenty of talent for the coming season, something which was on show yesterday.
However, having spent under the salary cap, Rovers lack depth and cover in key areas, a fact Sandercock admitted afterwards.
"Everyone knows we are a club that relies heavily on having everyone available," he said.
"We're not a rich club and I can't go out and buy players left right and centre. Kris went to the hospital to have x-rays because he has a possible broken hand.
"I have no idea yet how long he may be out for. We'll see what the x-rays reveal. Cory hurt his shoulder and Con Mika has hurt his groin. There is a chance they could miss the first game of the season against Catalan."
Already without the suspended Travis Burns and injured duo Sean Gleeson and Ryan O'Hara, Sandercock is hopeful some of his younger players can fill the void.
"Every single one of the young players that finished the game impressed me enough to be considered for the roles," he said.
"The kids that played in the second half didn't let their club or themselves down.
"With the injuries we have I'm confident they will put their hand up and give it a good crack."
Yesterday's win was Rovers' third in a row in pre-season, but Sandercock refused to read too much into the results.
"I'm not getting carried away. We played Wigan's second string last week and we are trying to just train and work hard and do the best we can," he said.
"We can take some encouraging signs from the friendlies into the start of the season.
"There are some positives there but there is a lot we have to work on.
"But I was pleased for the players that we were very competitive."