THIS evening’s visit of Wigan Warriors is just what Castleford Tigers need after successive defeats, forward Adam Milner says.
Wigan have won three successive games since Castleford’s 27-10 success at the DW Stadium earlier this month.
Tigers’ form has gone the other way, but Milner reckons facing the reigning champions will bring the best out of them.
Leeds Rhinos’ shock defeat by Huddersfield Giants two days ago means tonight’s winners will be top of Betfred Super League at the end of round 12.
“We’re disappointed because it’s two games on the bounce now where we’ve come up short,” Milner reflected.
“Full credit to Hull last Sunday - with 12-men they defended heroically and they played 60 minutes of the game a man down.
We’re looking to respond. We’ve looked back at some footage of the last game and we’re looking to get back to the style of play and form we were in then.Castleford Tigers’ Adam Milner
“But we are well up for bouncing back now and there’s no better team to turn over than Wigan, I suppose.
“We have to dust ourselves off and put things right.”
Tigers looked like potential Grand Final winners when they out-classed Wigan three weeks ago, but Milner insisted that result will have no bearing tonight.
“Obviously it has been and gone,” he said of the previous meeting.
“Both teams have gone different ways since that game. Wigan have had a decent Easter with a few wins while we have gone through a little blip.
“But we’re looking to respond. We’ve looked back at some footage of the last game and we’re looking to get back to the style of play and form we were in then.
“We know we can do it. Nothing has drastically changed for us or for them.
“We’ll look to get on top of them again.”
Rangi Chase could return for Tigers today after a wrist injury and Matt Cook and Nathan Massey are pressing for a recall, with Andy Lynch dropping out from last Sunday’s team.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell is hopeful Luke Gale will be fit to start at scrum-half after suffering concussion against Hull. That means Milner - a specialist hooker - is set to continue at loose-forward.
“I played 13 at amateur level and at school,” Milner revealed.
“When I came through the ranks I went to hooker and it was only the pre-season before last that I tipped Powelly up that I wouldn’t mind, when he was spelling me, to play 13.
“Paul McShane had arrived and I knew he could play big minutes, but I wanted to be playing big minutes as well so I sort of said to Daryl ‘don’t hesitate to put me on at 13’.
“I played a lot there last year and enjoyed the role I had in the team. I have brought that form into this year, I suppose.
“I am really enjoying it and am just looking to improve and develop in that area.”
Wigan are without half-back Thomas Leuluai, who suffered a broken jaw against Catalans Dragons last Sunday.
Liam Forsyth also drops out, but Joel Tomkins and Anthony Gelling could return after injury. Nick Gregson is also in contention and under-19s hooker Josh Ganson - son of referees’ boss Steve - is in line to debut.
Castleford Tigers (from): Chase, Cook, Eden, Gale, Hardaker, Holmes, Massey, McShane, McMeeken, Millington, Minikin, Milner, Monaghan, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Springer, Shenton, Webster.
Wigan Warriors (from): Burgess, Davies, Escaré, Farrell, Flower, Ganson, Gelling, Gregson, Isa, Marshall, Mcilorum, Navarrete, Nuuausala, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sutton, Tautai, J Tomkins, Williams.
Referee: Robert Hicks (OLdham).
Kick-off: Tonight, 7pm.