Head coach Daryl Powell reckons Castleford Tigers’ next block of Super League matches, starting at Huddersfield tomorrow night, holds the key to whether his side will finish in the top four or top eight.
After taking on the Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium, the Tigers are at home to another team currently below them, Widnes Vikings, and in the next month they also host leaders Hull and ninth-placed Salford.
All appear to be must win if Cas are to climb from their present seventh place into the top four before the season splits into the Super Eights and Middle Eights.
Powell told the Express: “They are all important games now, but this next block of games is really key.
“We’ve had some tough things happen to us injury-wise, but we are close to being a top four team.
“There are some issues there, which we need to fix up. Our defence needs to be better over 80 minutes and our yardage needs to be a little bit better, but we are not far away and the more we can keep working on driving our standards and being more consistent then we give ourselves a chance of winning those tight games.”
Powell said that despite the defeat to Wigan last week his players could take some confidence from the manner of their way they played.
He said: “Wigan kicked really well and as usual they were very physical. They negated some of the things we wanted to do, but they really struggled with us when we got in attacking positions.
“We caused a lot of trouble, scored some smart tries and were unlucky on another couple of occasions as well.
“We can take a lot of confidence from it, but there’s still things there you need to be better at when you are in tight games to come out on top on the scoreboard.”