Chris Atkin given the nod to partner McGuire at half-back against Leeds

James Gordon

Hull KR coach Tim Sheens will hand a Super League debut to Chris Atkin in Thursday night’s clash at Leeds.

Atkin, 24, joined the club from Swinton Lions last season for an undisclosed fee after scoring more than 700 points in 100 appearances in the Championship.

He played in all seven of the Robins’ games in The Qualifiers at the back end of 2017, but sat out the opening day defeat to Wakefield last week.

Sheens told the club’s official website: “Chris will come in for Matty (Marsh) this week and he’ll get a shot.

“Those two are pretty neck and neck in terms of who will partner Danny McGuire in the halves and I expect we’ll see them switch around a bit over the coming weeks.

“But we’re going with Chris for this one because I think he’s more suited to what we’ll need against Leeds.

“He’s a bit more dominant than Matty and a bit more vocal and his kicking game is probably a little stronger.

“He’s a left-footed kicker as well, so that opens us more options for us against Leeds which will be important.

“Their back three but particularly the two wingers carry the ball really well so finding the right areas with our kicking game will be key.

“It’s also forecast to be wet so that makes your kicking game even more important.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Danny this week with it being Leeds, but it’s important that we share the ball between the two half backs and give both sides of the field some ball.

“I’ll be looking to both Danny and Chris to take the pressure off each other and not to try too hard.

“We obviously want them to put the effort in but with it being Danny’s old club I’m sure he’ll want to prove a point, and this is Chris’ biggest test so far, we want cool heads.”

Atkin came through the academy system at Widnes but has never made a Super League appearance.