Daryl Powell expects no easy ride when Castleford Tigers get back to the bread and butter of the First Utility Super League on Sunday following their Wembley exertions.
The Tigers head coach is expecting a tough game when his team takes on a revitalised Bradford Bulls side, who have won their last three games and will be refreshed after a week off while Castleford were involved in an emotionally draining cup final.
Powell told the Express: “Bradford have really improved so you’d expect it will be a big challenge.
“Jimmy Lowes has done a good job there straight away. They’ve tidied up and won three big games – two of them beating Wigan and Leeds, which is a magnificent effort.
“They are going to be tough to knock off.
“It looks like the shackles are off and they are not being weighed down by any sort of burden.
“They’ve retained quite a few of the players who are there at the moment so their future looks assured, which is obviously a big worry for players.
“They’ve relaxed and it’s great that they’ve responded. It just shows what determination and courage rugby league players have.”
Powell will be making at least two changes to his final team with injuries ruling out prop Craig Huby and winger Justin Carney.
Garreth Carvell and James Clare are favourites to come in and whoever plays will have plenty at stake with more big games on the horizon for a Cas team heading for the end of season play-offs.
Powell said: “Players coming in have a chance to put a marker down for the rest of the season.
“We’ve lost our last two now so we need a pretty sharp response and will be looking to get back to what we were doing well.
“Our next two matches are massive, they are at home and they are significant. But we only take it one game at a time and Bradford at the weekend’s a really big game for us now.
“We want to finish in the top four and it’s important to do so because you get another shot at it if things don’t go your way in the first play-off game.”