Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has warned his players that they will face a pumped up Wakefield Wildcats side when they make the short journey to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday.
Powell is expecting a much more difficult test for his players than they got in the local rivals’ last meeting at the Magic Weekend when the Tigers ran out 56-16 winners.
With the Wildcats appointing new coach Brian Smith since then their performances have improved and they have also been bolstered by several signings, including Anthony Mullally, who joined this week from Huddersfield.
Any complacency in the Cas ranks can be further dispelled by a reminder of their 24-22 home defeat to Wakefield on the opening day of the season.
Head coach Powell insists there is more than just local bragging rights to play for on Sunday with his team still pushing for a top four Super League finish before the Super-Eights begin.
He told the Express: “Runs come to an end at some time, but it was disappointing we missed a big opportunity last week at Hull and we need to get our heads back on what we’ve got to do. This is a huge game for us now.
“We’ve still got a great opportunity in front of us in finishing fourth, but we need Huddersfield to slip up a little bit.
“All we can do is win our last two games and Wakefield’s the first one. We need to play well, they’ve been improving.
“You would have expected to see that. Obviously Brian Smith’s a really experienced coach and he’s done some big things in his career.
“He’s got a great reputation for the way he coaches and I witnessed it first hand when I was over in Australia a few years ago. He’s a top bloke and a top coach so we’ll get challenged at the weekend.
“They’ll be up for it and they’ll see it as a part of their development moving forward. So we need to be mindful that we will have to be at our best to give ourselves a chance.
“They have made some signings in recent weeks to give them a boost. Obviously Jordan Tansey’s signed from us, they’ve got Kevin Locke, who’s a pretty special player when he’s on form at the back and they’ve just signed Anthony Mullally so they’ve changed their roster a bit. They’ve got Sio at hooker, who’s added a little bit to them, and they’ll certainly be a threat.
“They are at home and they’ll see us as a challenge for them, but a team they think they can beat looking at us last week. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“It will be a tough game. Wakefield away since I’ve been at the club have always been difficult games. We need to be on the button as it’s a really important game for us.”
Powell is expecting fans to be out in force for the last local derby of the regular season.
He said: “There’s usually a good atmosphere in these games. When you have local derbies there’s a fair intensity about the crowd involvement in terms of their noise levels.
“It’s getting to the back end of the season for us so I’d expect it to be buzzing with Castleford supporters and with them starting to go better you would think the Wakefield fans will really get behind their players.
“We’ve had great support all year and I think we’ll get that again. They are always right behind us. They have given us massive support this year and it won’t be any different at Wakefield.
“We’ve had some really good performances in the derbies and some that haven’t been fantastic, but last time out against Wakefield I thought we played really well so we need to replicate some of that stuff and have a fair bit of intensity about us.
“We’ve started really well in most games over the last couple of months and we’ll need to do that again.”