VETERAN FRONT-ROWER Andy Lynch is looking forward to his first return to previous club Hull, with Castleford Tigers this week.
But he admits it will only be really special if Tigers get the two points, to remain on course for a top-four finish.
Lynch, 34, spent two seasons at Hull before rejoining Cas – where his career began, in 1999 – at the end of last season.
The former Great Britain and England prop, who also had a seven-season stint with Bradford Bulls, admitted Thursday’s trip to KC Stadium is a big one, for Tigers and himself personally.
“It is a massive game for us,” said Lynch, who made 53 Super League appearances for the Black and Whites.
“We need to get back to winning ways and I think Hull will be the same. They haven’t been in the best form lately, but it is the first time they have been back at home for a while.
“They will be looking for a big crowd to get behind them. It is on TV and they will be looking for a big push to get into the play-offs.
“They need the points and they will see it as a massive game. It always is going to the KC and when you are on the opposite side, as the away team, it’s daunting.
“It is going to be tough, but it’s one we’re looking forward to and we’re looking for the two points.”
Lynch added: “For me, I am going back to my old club and that’ special. They are great people at Hull and a great set of lads. It’ll be great to go back and try and get one over them.”
Lynch reckons Tigers’ finishing will need to be better on Thursday.
Cas needed a late converted try, after Leeds Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield had been sent-off, to salvage a point from last week’s trip to Headingley, but Lynch felt they could – and should – have come away with the win.
“We were all disappointed,” he said of the 24-24 draw.
“We went into the game to win and we thought we had opportunities all over the park - up the middle, left and right.
“We just couldn’t be clinical enough and finish the chances off.”
Despite picking up only a point, Tigers are fourth in the table and Lynch said the disappointment afterwards was an indication of how far the club has come.
Tigers have not won at Headingley since 2010 and Lynch said: “It is a tough place to go to.
“People enjoy playing there, but it’s daunting at the same time. To go there and get a draw was okay, in the scheme of things where Cas have been in the past.
“But as a group now we were disappointed and we know we should have won that game.”
Despite not winning last week Tigers remain in contention for all three available honours: top spot in the First Utility Super League table, the Tetley’s Challenge Cup and Grand Final.
“We got a point out of last week’s game, so not much changed,” Lynch said.
“We will keep working hard. There’s six games to go and we’ve got plenty of improvement in us.
“We have got to get back into a winning mentality and get ready for the play-offs.”
Rhinos boss Brian McDermott described Tigers after last week’s game as “the real deal”.
Lynch admitted that was one of Cas’ aims going into the derby, to prove they are on a par with the competition’s top teams.
“We wanted to go there and win and show we are contenders,” he said. “We wanted to show we are here to stay and we’re not going to drop off.
“Even though we were disappointed, we came away with something. I thought both sides made a lot of errors and we need to be more composed and build pressure more.
“I don’t think we did that, especially in the second half. We spent probably 40 minutes of the game coming out of our half. Leeds are a quality team and they have learned how to build pressure and just to keep you down at your end, play their sets out, kick and let you make the errors.
“We did that, we made errors and we made things difficult for ourselves.”
Tigers will be looking to put last week’s lessons into practice in two days’ time.
“A bit thing for us this year is playing for the full 80 minutes,” he stated.
“We knew we were in with a good chance of playing for the full 80 minutes last week and winning it.
“In past years we’d have played for 60 and when they scored that try (to go 24-18 ahead) our heads would have gone down.
“That didn’t happen last week. We knew we were still in the game and we played right until the 80th minute to try and get the win.”
Meanwhile, Lynch’s fellow ex-Hull prop Garreth Carvell has signed a contract to keep him at Castleford until the end of the season.
Carvell, who had been on loan at Tigers, has now been released by Hull.
He said: “I’m loving it here. It’s a great old-style club, the people here are so friendly and everyone here works together and believes in this great team.”
Tigers coach Daryl Powell said: “We are delighted to sign Garreth for the remainder of the season.
“He has fitted very well into the club and his experience will be important for us as we lead into a crucial part of the season.”