Hull FC v Castleford Tigers: It's a big game admits Daryl Powell as Super League's top-six race hots up
The next two games could make or break Castleford Tigers’ season.
Three successive victories have revived Tigers’ hopes of qualifying for Betfred Super League’s top-six, but every game from now on is effectively a must-win, beginning at Hull on Thursday.
“We play Hull away and then Wigan at home [on Monday] in our next two games,” coach Daryl Powell, whose team are eighth in the table, noted.
“If we can win those we are in the battle, I think.
“We’ve just got to keep going, one game at a time.
“We know they are all tough, but we have hit a little bit of form.”
Hull are not yet assured of a top-six finish and Powell admitted it is a “big game”.
He said: “We’ve got five games left now and we’ve broken them up and focused on a couple of blocks.
“This will be a tough game, but we are getting used to tough games.
“We’ve been to Leeds and St Helens and Hull are a difficult team.
“They’ve got a lot of their strike players back and we know we’ll have to be at our best to win this one.”
Tigers found themselves hanging on at the end of last Saturday’s 23-18 defeat of Wakefield Trinity, after leading 23-6 with half an hour remaining.
Powell described their second half performance as “terrible”, but insisted he “won’t worry about that too much”.
The Tigers boss stressed: “We’ll try and move past that and if we do more of what we did in the first half we will be okay.”
Powell will select his side from the 17 who beat Wakefield, plus Adam Milner, Daniel Smith, Alex Foster and Jason Qareqare.
Hull are without Joe Cator (Achilles) and Josh Reynolds (knee) because of injuries picked up in last week’s win over Hull KR, but Chris Satae and Mahe Fonua are back in contention.
Hull: from Connor, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Fonua, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Ma’u, Sao, Johnstone, Lane, Fash, McNamara, Brown, Swift, Bowden, Wynne, Scott, Shaul.
Castleford Tigers: from Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Blair, Milner, Massey, Griffin, Foster, Hepi, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Eden, Matagi, Turner, O’Brien, Qareqare.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
Kick-off: Thursday, 7.45pm.
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