Hull KR will embark this month on one of the greatest challenges in the world of Rugby League ? to stay in Superleague after promotion.
The last two previously promoted National League One teams ? Leigh and Castleford ? both failed to stay in the elite competition, making the Robins task all the more intimidating.
The East Hull club have hit the ground running securing a number of quality players with the promise of more to come. Hull?s forward pack has been boosted by the addition of Castleford prop Danny Ward and former Huddersfield hardman Jim Gannon. However the biggest coup for the club is the signing of Parramatta forward Michael Vella who had to gain a release from the Eels before moving to the UK.
Hull?s halves have also been boosted by the acquisition of PNG veteran Stanley Gene. The club have recently indicated that they will add four more backs, and another current Superleague second rower to their roster.
However gaining appropriate playing talent is only one of the problems for any newly promoted Superleague club.
Hull KR have also been busy organising the infrastructure required to run a professional sporting team, while being careful to not overspend and send the club into financial ruin.
The club plans to increase the capacity of their home ground Craven Park, while also attracting a naming rights sponsor for the ground. Temporary seating will boost the current ground capacity of 7,500 up to 8,700, while lighting will be upgraded at a cost of 200,000 pounds.
A record number of season memberships have been taken out in the space of little more than a week.
While all Robins fans will hope their team survives their reintroduction into Superleague, winning the derby matches against Hull FC will also be of great importance.
Hull KR may seem like the poorer cousin of the two, with a less developed ground and not as much recent success compared to Hull FC?s 2005 Challenge triumph, and this perception will only add further heat to the upcoming battles.
If the Robins only narrowly avoid relegation, but win two or more derby clashes, their season will be considered a success.Like