BOSS DARYL Powell is expecting a much tighter contest when Castleford Tigers face Wigan Warriors for the second time in less than a month.
Tigers powered to a 27-10 victory at DW Stadium just 22 days ago, but since then Wigan have picked up three successive wins while Castleford will go into tomorrow evening’s clash at the Jungle on a two-match losing run.
Wigan will go above Tigers if they win this weekend and Powell reckons his side need to produce an even better performance than in the previous meeting if they are to maintain their unbeaten home record.
“They are in better form than the last time we played them because they’ve won three straight,” Powell said of Wigan.
“They’ve had a good Easter. They beat Catalans pretty comfortably last week and they’re going well. It’s a tough challenge and you’ve got to take your chances when they come because they don’t concede a whole heap of points.
“We’ve lost three games by a total of seven points though, so even when we’re not playing well we’re not far away.
We’ve had a couple of tough days, but we’ve trained well and there’s been some fizz about us.Castleford Tigers’ boss, Daryl Powell
“There’s no panic about what we’ve got here, it’s just about tidying up the areas where we’ve not been that efficient.”
Powell insisted he has full confidence in his players, despite losses at St Helens and Hull.
“It’s a tough game, but we’re good enough to win it,” he added. “We’ve shown that already this season. It’s about us being where we need to be with and without the ball.
“Against Saints we weren’t, particularly without the ball, and the same against Hull. We’ve had a couple of tough days, but we’ve trained well and there’s been some fizz about us. There’s a couple of combinations that look like they’re back to their best so hopefully we’ll be okay.”
Powell reckons Tigers’ England full-back Zak Hardaker will be a key player in tomorrow’s game.
“He’s settled in really quick,” Powell said. “Some parts of his game haven’t been as good in the last two or three weeks.
“He went through an initiation period, if you like, and then he got on board with how we were playing. I’m sure he’ll step up again this week and when he’s playing well he helps to bring that to us.”