AFTER A kick up the backside, half-back Jamie Ellis expects Castleford Tigers to respond tonight.
Tigers travel to Hull KR seven days after a 40-18 home loss to St Helens.
Coach Daryl Powell blasted his team following that game and Ellis revealed they have been put through the wringer this week.
“We were disappointed with what we dished up [against Saints], especially after the Leeds game when we had some confidence,” he said.
“We had good preparation, but just didn’t deliver so it has been a hard week and now we’re back into a tough game on Friday.”
Tigers’ fixture at KCOM Craven Park was postponed exactly three months ago due to snow and ice.
They’ve only been getting beaten by a couple of points at times this year and been unlucky at times. It will be tough and we know we have to be good.Jamie Ellis on facing former club Hull KR
The rearranged date was agreed after both teams were knocked out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and with no other Betfred Super League matches being played this weekend it is an opportunity for Tigers to climb the table.
They are fifth, behind Hull on points difference, but have played two games fewer than most of their rivals in the race for play-offs spots.
“This being one of our games in hand, it is very important for us in terms of getting into the top-four,” said Ellis.
“We are looking forward to it.
“We know we have it in the locker to be the team we want to be, but we’re just not quite getting there this year.
“We have to get an 80-minute performance in.”
Hull KR are second from bottom, but are on the back of a shock win a week ago. Ellis noted: “They have got a few players out, but they beat Wigan last Friday so they’re not doing too badly.
“Other players are stepping in and doing a job. We have a few players out too, but some quality coming back in and we’re ready.”
Ellis was a key member of the Rovers team which won promotion back to Super League at the first attempt last year, so tonight’s game is extra-special.
He recalled “It was a good place to be. They are in the bottom four now, but are playing pretty well.
“They’ve only been getting beaten by a couple of points at times this year and been unlucky at times. It will be tough and we know we have to be good.
“We’ve watched the video [of Rovers’ 24-8 win over Wigan] and they played with a bit of confidence.
“It will be a very tough game and we know we have to be on it.”
Last year’s leading try scorer Greg Eden could return for Tigers after recovering from a long-term hamstring problem and Joe Wardle is also in contention after injury.
Big forward Will Maher has been recalled from loan at Halifax and is included in the initial 19 along with Tuoyo Egodo and Kieran Gill.
Greg Minikin, Ben Roberts and Junior Moors all drop out due to injury. Hull KR’s former Castleford winger Justin Carney is sidelined due to a broken hand sustained against Wigan.
Josh Johnson is suspended and Elliot Wallis drops out.
Kieren Moss, Jordan Walne, Joe Cator, Aaron Smith and Ryan Shaw are the players vying to replace them.
Hull KR: from Quinlan, Vaivai, Shaw, Scruton, Masoe, Blair, Greenwood, Kavanagh, Donaldson, Clarkson, Lee, Salter, Atkin, Moss, Dagger, Walne, Cator, Tickle, Smith.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Eden, Egodo, Ellis, Foster, Gill, Hitchcox, Holmes, Maher, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Trueman, Wardle, Watts.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.