CASTLEFORD TIGERS forward Matt Cook admits his side want a win at Salford Red Devils tonight as their pride was “hurt” when losing the reverse fixture at Wheldon Road.
They fell 32-16 in March, one of six home defeats for Daryl Powell’s side which has, essentially, all but ruined their chances of making the top-four this season.
Cook, the experienced former London Broncos captain, admits that will be at the forefront of their minds this evening.
“Salford have been a bit like us I suppose through the season – a bit hit and miss,” he said, about hosts who are in 10th spot but did have six points deducted for salary cap breaches.
“But they’re a very good side and it’s one-all between us so far this year.
“They beat us in the league here, which hurt us pride-wise.
“We beat them in the Challenge Cup, but that’s gone now and they still have the two points.
“We know it’s going to be a big, tough game, but we need to win, get the two points and do a job. I think Salford is pretty much a must-win game. In all aspects in terms of getting things back on the positive.
“We’ve had a couple of losses now on the bounce and need to get some wins to keep us secure in the top-eight and then to start clawing back some points to keep in touching distance with that top-four.”
Castleford are in sixth but Cook, 29, added: “Salford are still challenging the six points they lost so you never know, they could end up getting them back. If they got them back that would sit them one point behind us so we’ve got to go into the game against them mindful of that.
“We need a win to make sure we have a bit of a gap on them if they do get the points back.”
Furthermore, the Tigers are in need of a win after the anti-climatic way they exited the Challenge Cup in Saturday’s poor quarter-final performance at Wigan.
Despite hitting back after trailing 22-0 at the interval, they still lost 26-12.
“We did have a real good dig in the second half; we threw a fair bit at them and even a fair bit in the first half,” explained Cook.
“All credit to Wigan, they defended really well, scrambled really well and deserved the win.
“They took every opportunity they got and it was a bit of a convincing win.
“It was good how we responded in the second half, but it was the quarter-final of the cup and we needed to be at our best right from kick-off so it’s disappointing to be out of it.”
The ex-Bradford Bulls and Hull KR player has proved a valuable signing for Powell in his second campaign since moving back north from London.
Cook has played 19 games so far, mainly from the bench, and with his high work-rate, energy and industry, has shown to be an astute capture although he is still, unusually, awaiting his first try of the campaign.
“Touch wood, I’ve only missed two this season and that was with a harsh ban, probably!” said the player, who is contracted until the end of 2017.
“It’s nice to be playing week in, week out and I’m pretty happy.
“I’m a bit like the team; I need a little bit more consistency in my own game but I probably feel I’ve started to find that in the last couple of weeks.”