BOSS DARYL Powell admits Castleford Tigers will need to be at their best to return to winning ways against high-flying Warrington Wolves tomorrow.
The visitors are second in Betfred Super League with 10 wins from 13 games and inflicted Tigers’ first defeat of the season, 24-10 at HJ Stadium two months ago.
That began a run of six losses in nine matches for Tigers who have been ravaged by injuries and were beaten 6-4 at Wigan Warriors five days ago, their second successive setback.
Powell believes Tigers are playing well, despite the adverse results, but knows tomorrow will be a huge test of their form, character and squad.
“We’ve just got to ride through this tough period we’re having at the moment,” insisted the Cas coach.
“I think we’re doing a great job with it, the players are really digging in. Character comes from going through tough situations and I think we are showing a lot.
“I’ve seen plenty of teams completely fold under the kind of injury list we’ve got – and we’re not doing that. We’re hanging tough and that shows there’s good leadership within the group and also that the players that are coming in are doing a good job for us.
“The key is we have to start winning games again.”
That will be far from easy tomorrow. Powell added: “Warrington have been playing well, they’ve had a couple of tough results, but they are back on form in their last two games.
“They are a good side with good players in there. We know they are going to come after us and challenge us and we know we have to play as well as we can.
“We’ve got to get under their skin, get after them and see where that takes us. We had a real big challenge last week and handled that pretty well. This is another big challenge for us.”
Wolves’ Blake Austin is top try scorer in Super League and leads the Steve Prescott Man of Steel standings. Powell said: “He has been playing well.
“His running game’s a threat, but we’ve played them already and know what he’s like.
“They’ve got lots of good players and I think they’ve only got one injury and they have a good flow about them.
“Daryl Clark’s a great player as well, he’s great out of dummy-half; he’s strong and quick, electric pace out of the blocks so he’s a real challenge as well.
“They’ve got a good team and with no injuries they’re in good shape. We need to be outstanding to win the game.”
Australian recruit Cheyse Blair, signed from Melbourne Storm, arrived at Castleford this week and is set to make his debut, replacing the injured James Clare. Jacques O’Neill and Calum Turner are also in contention for a recall.
Ryan Atkins, Jason Clark, Harvey Livett and Ben Westwood could all return for Warrington, but Tom Lineham and Ben Murdoch-Masila drop out from the side which beat Huddersfield Giants last weekend.
Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Blair, M Clark, Clarkson, Eden, Egodo, Maher, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Milner, Minikin, O’Neill, Peachey, Smith, Trueman, Turner, Watts
Warrington Wolves: from Akauola, Atkins, Austin, Charnley, D Clark, J Clark, Cooper, Currie, Davis, Goodwin, Hill, Hughes, King, Livett, Patton, Philbin, Ratchford, Tasi, Westwood.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.