Coach Daryl Powell believes Castleford Tigers have had ‘good value’ out of rotating their squad this season.
Justin Carney, Jake Webster and Craig Huby have been rested from the 17 that drew 24-24 at Leeds Rhinos last Thursday for tonight’s televised game at Hull FC. James Clare has been called up in place of winger Carney.
The Tigerswill climb to second in Super League if they win tonight. They are seeking a league double over Hull who are without a victory in their last five matches and were thrashed 56-10 at Wigan last time out.
Powell said: “Our squad is pretty healthy at the moment and it’s an opportunity to give a couple of blokes a bit of a breather.
“We’ve got some good players who haven’t played over the last couple of weeks. It’s still a very strong squad and it will be a strong team.
“Obviously, Hull will be pretty motivated having lost last week so it’s a good challenge for us.”
“It’s about making sure we consistently get what we need out of the team. Managing players across the season is something we’ve done all year.
“I’ve been asked questions every press conference about you’ve rested this player and you’ve rested that player and that’s just the way it has been. I think we’ve got good value out of it.
“Obviously, James Clare comes in who is a good quality player. I am confident in his ability. He’s been pretty good for us over the last couple of years and I am confident he will be again.
“It was a tough game at Leeds last week but we’ve got that every week and that’s why it is important you bring players in who have got an extra little bit of motivation for different reasons and I think we’ve got a lot out of that this year.
“Luke Dorn had been left out the week before the Leeds game and you saw the performance we got from him. I think we’ve seen that all season and it’s about continuing to keep the squad and individual players motivated.
“I think we’ve managed to do that so far. We’ll see how this game goes but I am confident we’ve got the ability in the team to make sure we get what we need out of this game.
“We’ve got good depth in our squad. I said this right from the start pre-season, it’s about the whole squad.
“You can roll through with 17 to 18 players if you want but you’ll have a bunch of really tired blokes at the end of the year and we didn’t really want to have that. I think we’ve planned in a pretty positive way to give everybody an opportunity throughout the year
“At the moment there is no one being left out for performance reasons, it’s to make sure that our energy levels are maintained across what are going to be some really tough weeks for us.
“Places are always up for grabs. When you’ve got games that are looming in the future you have an eye on it and you have your own ideas of what you are thinking but ultimately the key is to get every performance right and that is what I’ve been working towards.
“There’s places up for grabs every week and I think I’ve shown that if someone doesn’t play well then they will probably be sitting it out next game and the players are aware of that.”
Castleford’s squad tonight:
Kirk Dixon, Michael Shenton, Luke Dorn, Marc Sneyd, Andy Lynch, Adam Milner, Grant Millington, Weller Hauraki, Nathan Massey, Daryl Clark, Oliver Holmes, Frankie Mariano, Scott Wheeldon, Jamie Ellis, Ashley Gibson, James Clare, Liam Finn, Lee Jewitt, Garreth Carvell.
Andy Lynch, Garreth Carvell and Scott Wheeldon are set to face their former club tonight and Marc Sneyd is poised to play against the team he will be joining next season while Hull’s line up will include several ex Cas players.
“Both Garreth Carvell and Andy Lynch have played at Hull as has Scott Wheeldon
“It’s always a tough place to go whether Hull are going well or not. We know it’s going to be a difficult game and there are some players in there with a real motivation leading into it.
“Hull generally pick us off when players have developed. Obviously, the latest one is Jordy Thompson who has had a pretty good year for them. Hopefully in the future they won’t be doing too much of that.”
Powell will be looking for the Tigers to be more clinical in tonight’s match.
“I thought there was a bit of a frantic nature within the game at Leeds,” he added.
“I thought we opened up Leeds consistently but we really panicked a little bit when we got through or forced the pass because we could see a probable 20 per cent scoring opportunity.
“It’s just about making little bit better decisions when you get through the line but overall with the performance it’s hard to argue with what we did last week. I thought we were very good.
“There are some big games coming up over the next two or three months that we are going to need to get right.
“It’s about making good decisions and being a little more clinical and a bit more ruthless and having a bit more composure. All those qualities in a team are what we are after.”
Tigers scrum-half Liam Finn believes keen competition for places in keeping players on their toes ahead of next month’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Widnes Viking.
Finn said: “I think it is helping us keep our form a little bit.
“Everyone is jostling to stay in the team, knowing that one bad performance could mean you are out of the team next week or the week after which would be pretty hard to take.
“We are expecting a really tough game at Hull. They are usually good at home and difficult to beat and really physical. We are expecting Hull to bounce back from last week and get a few players back and really come out of the blocks.
“I am sure Lee Radford will have them fired up this week.”