Hull FC head coach Lee Radford urged his side to make amends for last week’s defeat to Leeds Rhinos and insisted considerable improvements must be made.
Victory against Hull KR would send see their cross-city rivals slim top eight hopes dashed, adding an incentive to their own plight in recent weeks.
After a 10-game winning run in the league catapulted the Black and Whites to the top of the ladder, a recent dip in performance and back-to-back defeats to Huddersfield Giants and Leeds has seen them overtaken by Wigan.
While recent outings require attention to iron out a few downfalls in his side’s game, Radford also conceded progression must be made from the previous two derby victories this season.
“It’s hopefully going to be the last derby of the season so we need to sign off as best we can, there’s some areas we have to improve on from last week if we’re going to get a result and some areas we need to improve on from the last two times we’ve played these,” he said.
“I felt we played the occasion a little too much and not the actual game itself and got caught up in trying to outmuscle them a bit too much which is natural for a derby game but we just need to box a little bit cleverer.
“I think with it only being two games they’ll be confident going into both games and it’s up to us to put a stop to that in our performance and them in the eights are a difficult game and I’d rather not play them in the eights.”
While all eyes will be on Hull FC to return to their previous ways in 2016, the inclusion of Gareth Ellis – who many pointed to as a catalyst for their form – will be a timely boost.
His drive going forward go a long way towards ensuring there is no repeat performance from last week, according to Radford, who is well aware of how close the competition is at this current stage.
“The margins between each side in the competition are so fine a couple of errors can cost you a game of football and that shows how tight it is from top to bottom,” he added. “Not making those errors is crucial for us and if we do, defending them is even more important.
“He’s a hugely influential player to have on the field and every other player likes playing with him and he’s going to add some punch and some hit to our middle that’s for sure and we lacked that against Leeds last week.”