Castleford Tigers are preparing to face a fired up Huddersfield Giants side when they make the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday.
After a break without a game the Tigers players have been put through their paces in some big training sessions and are raring to go for the six-match run-in now ahead, but know they face a hard task in the first of those games against the title chasing Giants.
Huddersfield are now concentrating on Super League after their exit from the Challenge Cup last weekend and have every incentive to impress against Cas as they can go top with a win with current leaders Wigan Warriors not playing until Monday night.
Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has been impressed with the Giants this season.
He said: “It’s going to be a tough game at Huddersfield. They’ve been going great this year and have been consistent.
“They’ll be disappointed in their performance against Warrington in the cup, but that will focus them and make it a tough challenge for us. We’re going to have play exceptionally well to win the game.
“Everybody’s been talking about them dipping a little bit because that’s what’s happened to them in recent years, but they look like they are maintaining their form.
“Obviously that’s been a key focus for them because they are more aware than anybody that they have dropped off at times, but they are looking pretty good at the moment.
“You would think it would refocus them going out of the cup, but sometimes it can rattle you losing a game like that.
“All we can do is focus on ourselves and get our performance right and we are going to need an individual and collective effort that’s right on the top of our game.
“We’ve trained hard and the players have been fantastic the way they have gone about their business. We’re looking forward to a big challenge and it’s an important game for us.
“It was a disappointing second half in our last game against St Helens, but there were a lot of real good positive signs in the first. We just need to apply ourselves for a longer period of the game.”
Powell identified several Giants players as big threats.
He added: “Obviously Brough is a significant threat and his kicking game is pinpoint and very accurate. He’s good with his decision making and his ability to create opportunities with his foot and his hands. He’s a danger and Robinson is a good player as well.
“They’ve got a big pack and their outside backs are good as well. Wardle has improved significantly, as has Murphy, then you’ve got Cudjoe, McGilvary and Grix at the back.
“They’ve got a lot of good players so you know you need to be on it in every single position because they have got threats everywhere and come at you with a lot of pace.”