CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ injury situation has been labelled “ridiculous” by coach Daryl Powell.
Tigers will go into tomorrow’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round tie at Hull without at least seven senior players.
Scott Wheeldon suffered knee ligament damage in last Friday’s defeat at Wigan Warriors and Frankie Mariano has re-injured the wrist which was operated on last year, keeping him out of the early part of the season.
They have joined Luke Dorn, Justin Carney, Matt Cook, Scott Moore and Denny Solomona on the casualty list. Andy Lynch, Oliver Holmes, Nathan Massey and Mike McMeeken could return, but Powell admitted several of his 19-man squad are in doubt and could have to be replaced.
“We are a bit interesting at the moment with injuries,” Powell stated. “It has been ridiculous this year.
“We haven’t made much of it, we’ve just got on with it, but we are struggling a little bit.
“I can’t name a team until [today] because there’s a couple of guys with X-rays and scans.
“Even having named a 19 I think I might have to change that along the way, with people pulling out.
“Potentially I don’t think I’m going to know [the line-up] until the day.”
Powell added: “It is tough. The last month or six weeks it has been pretty difficult picking a team.
“We haven’t put the same team out, it has been impossible to do that, through injuries.
“It is a tough one, but it’s one of those situations where the 17 that take the field just need to pull together and come up with a performance that gets us the result.
“But obviously Hull are at home and they’ll be feeling pretty confident about themselves, so we will be going in as pretty big underdogs I would think.”
Despite their problems, Tigers have every incentive tomorrow, after being losing finalists in the Challenge Cup last year.
“It’s a long way down the track,” Powell said of this year’s showpiece.
“Certainly it was a great experience last year. We didn’t quite get the job done in the final, but everybody got a lot out of the whole experience.
“It would be something special if we could do it again, but it is just one game at a time.
“This is a significant challenge, based on what’s happening to us at the moment.”
Powell insisted last year’s Cup run does not give Tigers any advantage this time around, against the 2013 runners-up.
“You can take last year out of the equation,” he said. “It’s about this season and what’s in front of us. It’s a pretty tough challenge, obviously, going over to Hull.
“They’re in a run of decent form, they’ve won five out of the last six, so it’s a big challenge for us.”
Hull coach Lee Radford could recall forward Mickey Paea, who has completed a two-match ban.
Airlie Birds three-quarterCurtis Naughton is also added to the 17 players on duty in last Sunday’s 27-26 win at Warrington Wolves.
Meanwhile, under-19s forward Brandon Westerman has signed a two-year extension to his contract, keeping him at Tigers until the end of 2017.
Hull: from Rankin, Lineham, Talanoa, Yeaman, Michaels, Pryce, Sneyd, Watts, Houghton, Ellis, Sa, Minichiello, Thompson, Paleaaesina, Green, Whiting, Abdull, Paea, Naughton.
Castleford Tigers: from Tansey, Gibson, Channing, Shenton, Clare, Finn, Gale, Boyle, Milner, Bailey, O Holmes, Moors, Jewitt, Webster, Roberts, Millington, Lynch, Massey, McMeeken.
Referee: James Child.
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.