defiant castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell has shrugged off Wigan Warriors rival Shaun Wane’s attempts to stoke up tomorrow’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final.
Wane has described Tigers as being “very confident, bordering on over-confident” and claimed comments coming out of the Cas camp “border on disrespectful”.
But Powell said: “I don’t know where that comes from. There’s been nothing said by anybody within our group. We are playing well and I think we should be confident, but we know we’ve got a tough challenge on our hands, going away to Wigan.
“They are the holders, they won everything last year so we recognise it will be tough, but if you can’t be confident in sport what chance do you have? I am not too fussed about that, to be honest.”
Tigers won 18-4 at DW Stadium last June and beat Wigan 36-31 at MAH Jungle in March and Powell said: “We have played well against them the last two occasions. We won the game late here, but I thought we played really well. There were some periods in the game when we really struggled, but I thought we stayed strong and we are going to have to do a fair bit of that.
“We know there’s going to be a challenge in every department of the game. Judging by Shaun’s comments it is going to be fiesty, but we will just get on with it and deal with what we have to.
“But I don’t see anything wrong with being confident. I don’t think we are over-confident, we are a group of blokes who are enjoying what they are doing and working hard and if that’s over-confident, fair enough.”
Powell added: “Maybe he’s just trying to fire his own players up. I think they will be fired up anyway, so I don’t see it as an issue. We have just got to focus on ourselves and do our job. We’ve done reasonably well so far and the challenge is to maintain it. There’s no doubt about that. Shaun Wane has made some reference to that, about maintaining it.
“Time will tell whether we can or not, but people have been saying that most of the year. Again, I am not too fussed about it, we will just get on with it. We know it will be tough, we aren’t going there thinking we are going to just turn up and win the game. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do. They will be rightly favourites to win the game and we have got to go there and do a good job.”
Justin Carney is still suspended and Tigers will be without centre Michael Channing, who suffered a groin injury in last Sunday’s win over Hull KR. Lee Jewitt is set to return after a back problem kept him out last week and Ashley Gibson and Liam Finn are also vying for a recall.
Ben Flower, Dan Sarginson, Liam Farrell and Michael McIlorum are set to return for Wigan, with Ryan Sutton also in contention. Darrell Goulding, Sam Powell and Scott Taylor drop out.
Tigers’ home game against Salford Red Devils, scheduled for Sunday, June 29, has been brought forward to Saturday, June 28 (7pm).
Wigan Warriors: from Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Burke, Crosby, Dudson, L Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Hampshire, Hughes, James, Manfredi, McIlorum, O’Loughlin, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Williams.
Castleford Tigers: from Dorn, Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Clare, Sneyd, Ellis, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington, Mariano, Clark, Wheeldon, Finn, Jewitt, Gibson.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 2.30pm.
London Broncos have extended forward Maxime Herold’s deal until the end of the season after impressing coach Joey Grima during his initial month’s trial.