With all four of their remaining matches against teams in the bottom half of the Super League Castleford Tigers are looking for a big finish to the 2013 season – but must make sure they do not underestimate their opponents, according to their head coach.
Although they have lost four of their last six matches the Tigers have been up against all the strongest teams in the country and managed to rattle each of them at times to give Daryl Powell some encouragement that his side can live with the best.
But now they must prove they can play equally as well in games they are expected to take points from, starting with Sunday’s trip to play Widnes Vikings (kick-off 3pm).
Powell told the Express: “We are now playing against teams that are close to us in the table, but we mustn’t think that these are not quite as good as the ones we have been playing against recently. That can’t be the way we go about it.
“We’ve got tough matches every week and you have to turn up with your best game to have a chance of winning in Super League.
“We’ve got some games coming up that we need to win and the team needs to believe that we’ve got to win consistently.
“We have to expect a tough challenge from Widnes. They are a side capable of scoring points. They have some quality players and certainly challenge you and put you under pressure.
“They’ll be a threat and they just got rattled last week when they got beat heavily at Hull so you would think that Denis Betts will be looking for a strong reaction.
“Hanbury is a smart player and Brown, who’s been around for a while, can cause you a lot of trouble with his ability to carry. He can also pick you off with his passing game.
“They are a dangerous team across the park. They’ve got an attacking flair about them and they will look at this game as one they can win. They will be looking for a massive response from last week.
“Widnes have a good record on their own pitch. Obviously it’s an artificial pitch and it’s had plenty of publicity over the last year or so. But it is what it is, we have to play on it and have got to go there and play well.
“We’ll go and look to play as well as we possibly can to give ourselves a chance of winning. That’s what’s important, not worrying about the surface.”
Castleford will be picking from the same players as last week with no new injuries, but none of their injured players returning.
Powell said: “Potentially there could be changes. I’ll have a good look at it over the next couple of days to decide what we’re going to do.
“The guys that were injured last week, Olly Holmes and Jonny Walker, won’t be available so we’ll have pretty much similar to what we had last week available. We’ve got people like Richie Owen, Jordy Thompson and James Clare, who are just on the edge of the squad so we’ve got some options for change, but we haven’t got a massive amount.”
Powell was pleased the return to first team action from Jamie Ellis against Warrington, after he had been dropped following the Leeds game in June.
He added: “I thought Jamie Ellis responded well.
“He got in there and defended well and worked hard with Rangi to organise.
“He created some things like the little drop off pass for Boyley to open them up for a try so there were some good things in there. I will be looking for him step up and keep improving his game. I’ll make a decision later this week, but there’s a strong chance he will be in there again.”