CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ injury crisis shows little sign of easing, but coach Daryl Powell is confident his makeshift team can pull off another impressive result at Widnes Vikings tomorrow.
Tigers began First Utility Super League round 10 in seventh spot on the table after fine wins over Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants during the Easter period, despite being without a host of senior players.
Castleford have lost centre Ben Crooks for up to a month after bruising his kidneys against Huddersfield and prop Grant Millington (thigh) and winger Jy Hitchocx (hand) are also missing from last week’s victorious side.
Wingers Joel Monaghan and fellow winger Denny Solomona do return to Tigers’ 19-man squad, however.
Widnes see captain Kevin Brown, Chris Bridge, Alex Gerrard, Setaimata Sa and Lloyd White all return in their 19-man squad while star full-back Rhys Hanbury has signed a new three-year deal with Denis Betts’ side.
Powell said: “It is always tough going to Widnes.
“Everybody seems to struggle there, but we are doing well at the moment.
“We have had quite a bit of adversity, but the guys have really dug deep.
“They are working really hard and we won a couple of tight games over Easter, which was pleasing.
“I think we can go there and win.
“We have just got to go there with some confidence and really challenge them.”
The positive from this year’s run of injuries is the form shown by Tigers’ fringe players.
“The young players who have come into the team have really proved themselves capable of handling it,” Powell added.
“It has been a good period for us.
“All the young players who have stepped in have done a good job.
“We have got an exceptionally young side and we are still winning games.
“This week is tough, but we have got to feel confident we can go there and win.”
Widnes Vikings from: Ah Van, Bridge, Brooks, Brown, Dean Dudson, Gerrard, Gilmore, Hanbury, Heremaia, Houston, Leuluai, Manuokafoa, Mellor, O’Carroll, Sa, Thompson, White, Whiteley.
Castleford Tigers from: Ryan Boyle, Cook, Gale, Gill, Fitzsimmons, Hampshire, Holmes, Jewitt, Lynch, Maher, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Milner, Minikin, Monaghan, Solomona, Springer, Webster.
Referee: Joe Cobb (RFL).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.