Unbeaten Tigers hope for another bumper crowd for Hull FC clash

Tigers coach Daryl Powell: "'The crowd were unbelievable last weekend."
Tigers coach Daryl Powell: "'The crowd were unbelievable last weekend."

Coach Daryl Powell expects another “fantastic atmosphere” when Castleford Tigers put their 100 per cent Super League record on the line in Sunday’s home clash against Hull FC.

The Tigers will aim to maintain their cracking start to the season after a crowd of 8,504 saw them make it four wins from four matches with a thrilling 36-31 victory over champions Wigan at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

“I think the atmosphere in the ground is fantastic at the minute and the players are feeding off that,” said Powell.

“Hull are a well supported club and they’ve started the season pretty well, winning a couple of matches. It all adds up to what should be a great game on Sunday.

“The crowd were unbelievable last weekend and obviously the song at the end ‘Sweet Caroline’ was an inspired choice. The place was just rocking.

“I think the players got the response they deserved from the crowd and the crowd deserved the performance from the players. The atmosphere down at the club at the moment is very, very good and we’ve got to maintain that.

“We know it will be a tough game on Sunday. Hull have good players across the board and we are going to need to play well. We don’t want to get carried away. We know we are going well and with the ball I think we are doing some exceptional things but what happens generally is that teams work out a way to play against you.

“I think that’s what we’ve got to be aware of and make sure we do our jobs on a weekly basis and we don’t start getting complacent in any way. I don’t see any reason that’s going to happen but it’s important that you just maintain what you are doing and keep working hard.

“As we’ve got into the season I think we’ve grown a belief that we’ve got a fair bit going for us and the mix of the group has been great.

“Our pack has been fantastic and I think the recruitment we did during the off season has shown to be pretty good.

“I think the spirit we are playing the game in and our ability to move the ball sharp has been great. I’m pleased with the way we are heading but there’s still plenty of improvement in the team.”

Castleford will be without Kirk Dixon for six weeks with a broken jaw. Wigan hooker Michael McIlorum has been banned for three matches after being found guilty of a high tackle that caused Dixon’s injury in last Sunday’s game.

Tigers winger Justin Carney was fined £300 and issued with a warning about his future conduct after admitting a grade A charge of punching during last weekend’s game.

Carney, who was sin-binned for the offence, served three separate suspensions in his first season in Super League in 2013 but is free to play in Sunday’s game against Hull.

Richard Owen will return to the Tigers side against Hull and Jake Webster is set to be available after a 12-month lay-off with a knee injury.

Castleford hope Andy Lynch will be fit to face his former club after picking up a back injury last Sunday in a game in which Nathan Massey made a successful comeback.

Powell said: “Andy Lynch hurt his back but hopefully it’s not too bad. We’ll have to wait and see as we go through the week.

“Nathan Massey was okay and it was good to see him back on the field. He got some minutes under his belt which is great when you haven’t played for a while so we are delighted with that.

“There is a good chance Jake Webster will be available this weekend. He came through his game with York okay”

Powell felt his side were worthy winners in last Sunday’s dramatic finish.

“I thought it would have been a travesty if we’d lost at the weekend,” he said.

“We were in a winning position and Wigan then did an outstanding job to get themselves in front and we had one set of six to win it and we were good enough to do it.

“We deserved to win it by a little bit more, based on the 80 minutes. It was probably justice we managed to win in the end.”