Castleford Tigers v Salford Red Devils - we can't take anything for granted warns Daryl Powell ahead of Challenge Cup quarter-final
Saturday is a whole new ball game for Castleford Tigers, boss Daryl Powell has stressed.
Tigers face Salford Red Devils in a Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final at Leeds’ Emerald Headingley, eight days after a 28-18 Super League victory against the same opposition.
That will make them favourites to go just one win away from a first appearance at Wembley since 2014 and the chance to send coach Powell out with some silverware before he joins Warrington Wolves next season.
Powell admitted a Wembley final would be “awesome in any year”, but insisted Tigers can’t think that far ahead.
“We’ve been in a couple of finals while I’ve been at the club and we haven’t managed to win one,” he said
“Obviously it is my last year at the club and it would be pretty special to win something with a special group of boys - players and coaching staff - and for the fans it would be amazing, but you have got to do the work.
“It’s tough to get there and tough to win.
“Salford will be highly motivated and ready to come and win the game and be in a semi-final themselves.
“We aren’t taking anything for granted, winning the game last week doesn’t make any difference at all.
“We’ve got to come up with a performance that is good enough to get us into the semi’.
“We can’t look past what’s right in front of us at the moment.”
Salford have won just twice in six competitive matches this year, against Championship side Widnes Vikings in the Cup and a league victory over promoted Leigh Centurions, but Powell saw warning signs last week.
He said: “Kevin Brown and Tui Lolohea are very dangerous and creative and Andy Ackers was dangerous.
“He is a threat, he is quick, he is brave and he puts you under pressure.
“As a team they’ve got Dan Sarginson and Krisnan Inu to come back in and potentially Pauli Pauli.
“They have got a big and dangerous squad and we certainly won’t be underestimating them or taking anything for granted from that first game.”
Tigers’ tie is the second part of a double-header involving Wigan Warriors against Hull, also a repeat of a Super League game from last weekend.
“It’s a bit less work in terms of previewing,” Powell said of playing the same opponents in successive games.
“You’ve done all your work on their previous three games before you play them so you get to learn a fair bit about each other.
“It is a fair bit if work previewing a team and getting through all the video hours so from that perspective it’s a bit easier.
“I’ve played against teams a couple of times like this at different clubs and you play a different game plan from one week to the next, or you might just tweak slightly on what you’ve seen the week before.
“For us, we need to execute a little bit better in good attacking positions.
“There’s some things we are doing really well, which we want to maintain and a couple of things we want to be better at, regardless of who we are playing.”
One thing Tigers have been working on is drop goals, after their previous tie at Hull KR was decided in the 19th minute of golden-point extra-time.
Powell admitted: “We were practicing drop goals before that game, all through pre-season we’ve been practicing drop goals and we’re still not the best so we’ll keep working on it.
“Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that, I think the middle players will be encouraging the half-backs to spend more time [practicing], seeing as there were 20 minutes of extra-time.
“It’s not the best thing to have to go through when you’re playing in the middle of the field.”
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