WEARY AND injury-hit Castleford Tigers will “have a crack” at Catalans Dragons in Perpignan today.
Tigers beat Leeds Rhinos 18-14 in a sapping game four days ago, but a lack of fit senior players means coach Daryl Powell is unable to rotate his squad.
Ex-Dragons forward Gadwin Springer is out after suffering a groin problem against Leeds.
Youngsters Connor Fitzsimmons, Kieran Gill and Tom Holmes have all been drafted into Castleford’s initial 19.
Hopes Ben Roberts and Lee Jewitt could return from injury were dashed when they both failed a fitness test on Saturday.
“I’ve never complained about Easter,” Powell insisted.
“It’s just what it is. I’ve played in these games myself and you recognise it’s a tough time.
“When you’ve got injuries it’s a little bit harder, but you’ve just got to get on with it
“It’s a tough game, but they played a day after us [winning at Salford] so there is a little bit of an advantage there.
“We’ll have to go over there and have a real crack at them and try and find a way to beat them. They’re a big set of people so we need to be physically and mentally very strong.”
The coach admitted he would have liked to give players a break. He added: “I have done in the past, but when you’ve got 18 or 19 fit players it’s pretty tough to do that.
“There’s not much roll round. We’ve just got to keep working hard. Hopefully we’ll start to get some people back in the next couple of weeks, it looks a little bit more positive.
“I’ve said this for the last couple of weeks, it’s a tough sport.
“A lot of the injuries we’ve got are contact injuries and unless you go out with a load of padding on you are not going to get past that, it’s the nature of the sport.”
Tigers’ squad flew out for the game yesterday, but Powell insisted the travelling is no excuse.
“They’ve got the same,” he pointed out.
“They were over here to play Salford on Friday, so they’ve got to travel the same as us and it evens itself out a little bit.
“Obviously they’re at home so it’s a little bit easier for them, but I think it’s a good time for us.
“We go away on a little bit of a mini-camp as it is over there and we can look to pull together and look to get a performance and a result.”
The win over Leeds ended a three-game losing run. Powell said: “It would be unbelievable if we won two out of two over Easter, with what we’ve been through. We will go and play with a bit of freedom about us.”
Catalans Dragons: from Gigot, Broughton, Duport, Richards, Carney, Myler, Anderson, Aiton, Casty, Stewart, Baitieri, Taylor, Bousquet, Pelissier, Mounis, Bosc, Escare, Maria, Mason.
Castleford Tigers: from Solomona, Monaghan, Crooks, Webster, Hitchcox, Hampshire, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Boyle, Millington, McMeeken, Massey, McShane, Maher, Minikin, Gill, Fitzsimmons, T Holmes.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
Kick-off: 6.15pm local time.