BOSS Daryl Powell has hailed his Castleford Tigers side for the way they have dealt with the adversity thrown at them this year.
Tigers will travel to Wigan Warriors tonight in fifth spot in the First Utility Super League table, despite losing their opening three games and being hit by a series of injuries to key men.
Scott Moore has been ruled out of tonight’s game and Andy Lynch and Oliver Holmes are rested, but Powell feels Cas have done an “outstanding” job in tough circumstances.
“Bits of our game have been inconsistent,” Powell conceded.
“With the ball we’ve been looking pretty good.
“Against Salford we were pretty sharp at times and we were pretty sharp at times against Catalans last week.
“We scored 30-odd points and created more opportunities, so we are going okay. We are looking to improve a bit defensively, but we have had changes all the time.
“It’s individual players’ consistency that will help us at the moment, but I think we’ve done a great job to be where we are.
“We lost the first three games, but we’ve won seven out of the last 10 and that’s a great effort from the players, they’ve done marvellously well.”
Powell admitted Tigers will have to pull out all the stops to make it three straight wins tonight, though they have a good recent record against Wigan, having won four of the five meetings since Powell took over as coach two years ago.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane described it as the worst day of his coaching career when Warriors were thrashed 42-14 at the Jungle two months ago and Powell predicted: “It’ll certainly be a tough game.
“They are playing outstandingly well. In their last couple of games they’ve scored over 100 points and they will be pretty confident.
“We’ve just got to go and play well and challenge them, but they will be pretty fired up thinking about the game early in the season and Shaun Wane’s comments afterwards.
“They will be after us and it promises to be really spicy game.
“It should be good; we’ve been faced with a few challenges already and dealt with them ok.
“Going there is always difficult, but we know if we go there and get our performance right we can really challenge Wigan.”
Jake Webster, Ben Roberts, Lee Jewitt, Junior Moors and Scott Wheeldon could all return for Tigers tonight, along with James Clare, after he played on dual-registration for York City Knights last week.
Tom Holmes drops out after making his debut against Catalans.
Wigan could be boosted by the return of star loose-forward Sean O’Loughlin after a long-term knee injury, alongside England winger Josh Charnley, who has missed the last seven games.
Matty Bowen and Lee Mossop are also in contention, with forwards Ben Flower (hamstring) and Tony Club (knee) dropping out.
Wigan Warriors: from Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Charnley, Crosby, L Farrell, Hampshire, Manfredi, McIlorum, Mossop, O’Loughlin, Patrick, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Tautai, J Tomkins, Williams
Castleford Tigers: from Clare, Webster, Shenton, Roberts, Gale, Milner, Millington, Jewitt, Boyle, Moors, Mariano, Wheeldon, Finn, Tansey, Channing, Gibson, Robson, Maher, Bailey
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm