Castleford Tigers: Powell taking a pragmatic approach to tough schedule

Jake Webster. PIC: Matthew Merrick
Jake Webster. PIC: Matthew Merrick
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS boss Daryl Powell is pleased his team are faced with getting straight back on the horse.

Tigers visit First Utility Super League strugglers London Broncos just four days after losing their 100 per cent record when they were beaten 23-16 at Salford Red Devils.

Tonight is the first of three Thursday night games Tigers face this year, all of them coming after they played the previous Sunday.

The other two are at home and away to Leeds Rhinos on May 8 and July 17, but Powell insisted there is no point moaning about the tough schedule – and in this case it has worked in their favour.

“We are going to have to do it a few times this year, as well as Easter,” Powell said.

“Whether it’s fair or not, it’s something that’s in front of us so there’s no use complaining about it, we’ve just got to get on with it.

“I think long-term it will be interesting to see how it maps out – Sunday-Thursday games – particularly as you get into the season and players have played 20-odd games, but ultimately it is what it is. I think we are quite pleased to have a short turn-around, based on what we did last week, so I don’t think it is a major issue.”

London – who have had two days’ extra rest, following their 54-6 reverse at Leeds last Friday – are the only team in the competition yet to register a win and would be stranded at the foot of the table but for Bradford Bulls’ points deduction.

“I watched them play against Leeds and against Wakefield the game before, so I have seen a bit of them,” Powell said. “They are tough and physical and they look pretty fit. In patches they really challenged Wakefield and in the second half against Leeds they competed much more favourably – and Leeds are a pretty formidable team at the moment.

“But it is about us performing. We got rattled a bit at the start of last week’s game, for different reasons and we weren’t quite as good as we wanted to be.

“We are going to have to improve on that to get a result (tonight) that’s for sure. They will see it as an opportunity for them and we have got to make sure they don’t get that opportunity.”

Powell added: “It is a dangerous fixture. They have had a couple of extra days’ rest and they are ready for the challenge. They are getting better and they’ve got some smart players.

“We aren’t going to be taking anything lightly, it is about us going there and performing.”

Powell will be forced to make at least one change to the side which lost at Salford, after Jake Webster was ruled out due to a groin injury.

“It doesn’t look as bad as we first thought, but it’s going to take him a couple of weeks to recover,” Powell said.

Richard Owen is left out of the squad, with James Clare, youngster Brad Day, Jamie Ellis and Dan Fleming all hoping for a call into the 17.

London coach Tony Rea will select from the side which lost at Leeds, plus Mike Bishay and Jon Wallace.

London Broncos: Macani, O’Callaghan, Minns, Caton-Brown, Solomona, Farrar, Drinkwater, Slyney, Moore, Krasniqi, McMeeken, Cook, Foster, Greenwood, Vea, Cunningham, Griffin, Bishay, Wallace.

Castleford Tigers: from Dorn, Clare, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Sneyd, Finn, Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington, Milner, Massey, Mariano, Ellis, Fleming, Day.

Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).

Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.

2017 Dream Team forward, Grant Millington. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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