AN UNWANTED week off – due to the Challenge Cup quarter-finals – hasn’t broken Castleford Tigers’ momentum, claims coach Daryl Powell.
Tigers, who have not played since their last-gasp win over St Helens on June 18, will return to action tomorrow when they face Widnes Vikings at The Jungle.
Tigers are bidding for a fifth successive win and Powell said: “I don’t think we needed a break, but it won’t do the players any harm. If you look at the teams that did well towards the end of last season, they were teams that hadn’t done particularly well in the Challenge Cup. I don’t see it as a major problem.
“I think it will help the players to have a bit of a breather and keep them fresh. The way they’ve looked this week, they look like they are in pretty good spirits and a good place.
“The environment here is pretty well-spirited at the moment and the players look like they are enjoying being in and working on their game. Hopefully, we can maintain our good form, but we know it will be tough. Widnes have got the reputation of being difficult to beat.”
Widnes will be without injured stand-off Kevin Brown, who Powell described as an “exceptional player”, but he warned: “They have done okay when he hasn’t played. They have got some pretty talented players and quite a few options.
“They would want him to be playing, but the worst thing we could do is put our cue on the rack and think it’s going to be easy because he’s not there. For me, it’s really about us and our standards this week and making sure we hit those standards.
“We have still got some improvement in us. I don’t think we’ve been outstanding at times with the ball, but we’ve got a bit of solidity about us when we’re in tough battles. We’ve been in nip and tuck games with Saints and Leeds and come out the other side and if you can do that, you feel like you’ve got something going for you as a team.”
Luke Dorn has recovered from a hamstring injury and could feature tomorrow for the first time since April.
Recent signing Gadwin Springer is set to make his debut and Ryan Boyle is also included, with Ryan Bailey dropping out.
Castleford Tigers: (from) Roberts, Solomona, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Finn, Gale, Lynch, Moore, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey, Milner, Cook, Moors, Dorn, Springer, Boyle.
Widnes Vikings: (from) Cahill, Clarkson, Craven, Dean, Dudson, Flynn, Galea, Gerrard, Gilmore, Hanbury, Heremaia, Isa, Leuluai, Manuokafoa, Marsh, Mellor, O’Carroll, Owens, Whitley.
Referee: Joe Cobb (Leigh).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.