CASTLEFORD TIGERS boss Daryl Powell admits he will have to wait and see if tonight is a good time to be facing Super League champions St Helens.
Tigers haven’t won an away match against Saints since December 1992, but tonight’s hosts are reeling from a 39-0 drubbing by South Sydney Rabbitohs in the World Club Challenge five days ago.
Castleford have had almost two weeks to prepare following their defeat at Catalans Dragons, but Powell is unsure of what sort of response to expect from Saints.
“They lost a game pretty heavily so their pride will have been wounded and they will be keen to play well,” Powell predicted. “But we have got to really focus on ourselves and not get too distracted, for obvious reasons.
“We have lost a couple of tight games and there’s not many tougher places to go than Saints. We have just got to get our own house in order and hopefully we will be really competitive.
“We have got a poor record at Saints, but not many teams have a good record there. Last year we went to Hull KR, where we hadn’t won for ages and we did the job.
“We have got to believe in ourselves, but it’s certainly a tough challenge.”
Tigers’ defeats this year have been by two points and a point and Powell said: “I think we should have won both games. We were well in front against Wakefield and credit to them for digging it out, but we should have won that.
“I thought we should have won against Catalans as well. It’s disappointing we didn’t get both jobs done, but there’s no point worrying about that. We’ve just got to move on.”
Powell is confident he knows where Tigers have to improve. He added: “We just need some fluidity in attacking play.
“Defensively we’ve done a lot of good things. The pack fronted up against Catalans and they’ll have to again, because they (Saints) probably have the biggest pack in the league.”
Matt Cook has recovered from injury and could make his Tigers debut tonight, alongside another ex-London Broncos forward Mike McMeeken.
Luke Dorn is fit after pectoral muscle damage, but Powell has opted to stick with Jordan Tansey at full-back.
Adam Milner and Ryan Boyle are also in contention for a call-up, with Jake Webster and Steve Crossley dropping out from the team which lost at Catalans.Saints are without Jordan Turner and Alex Savelio from their World Club Challenge team. Josh Jones, Lance Hohaia, Greg Richards and Matty Dawson are the players ready to step in.
St Helens: from Lomas, Makinson, Percival, Jones, Swift, Burns, Wilkin, Amor, Roby, Masoe, Greenwood, Vea, Flanagan, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walmsley, Thompson, Hohaia, Richards, Dawson.
Castleford Tigers: from Tansey, Solomona, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, Moore, Millington, O Holmes, Moors, Massey, Wheeldon, Finn, Milner, Boyle, Cook, McMeeken.
Referee: Richard Silverwood.
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.