Hull KR v Castleford Tigers - Daryl Powell insists he's focused on Challenge Cup job at hand and not thinking about Warrington Wolves
Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has insisted his current job is all he is thinking about.
Friday's Betfred Challenge Cup third round tie at Hull KR is Tigers’ first game since Powell’s move to Warrington Wolves next year was confirmed, but he insisted: “I am just focused on Castleford and what we’ve got to do this week.”
Powell pledged: “The Challenge Cup is pretty dear to our hearts, we want to do well this season and we’ve got an important game against Hull KR.
“We’ve got to get that job done. The boys have been awesome this week, training has been fantastic and there’s a real focus about the group.
“We have started the season well, but Super League is put behind us now and we’ll just look to play well.”
Tigers reached Wembley during Powell’s first full season in charge, in 2014, but have since failed to get past the quarter-finals, losing to Hull four times, Wigan and St Helens.
“We’ve had tough draws,” Powell reflected. “There’s been games when we haven’t done ourselves justice, but that’s behind us.
“It is a great opportunity this year to do something special in the Challenge Cup and I think the way we look at the moment, we are in a good place.
“That’s all that matters, it is about how we go about our job and making sure we are outstanding.
“Everything I’ve seen in practice this week has been positive.”
Powell insisted he is expecting a “tough game”, despite Rovers having lost their opening two Super League matches.
“Hull KR are challenging, they are competing really well and we are going to need to be good,” he warned.
“We played them in pre-season so we’ve had a good look at them.
“They are unpredictable and difficult to deal with so it will be a challenge, but the real focus has been on us this week and getting our systems and structures right.
“There’s things to improve on from the first couple of weeks, so hopefully we’ll see some of that.”
Gareth O’Brien is back in contention after missing last week’s win over Leeds Rhinos because of concussion and with fellow half-backs Jake Trueman and Danny Richardson also fit and available, Powell has to decide who to leave out.
“It’s difficult,” he admitted. “We’ve got three really good half-backs at the club and how they all fit together and how we get the best out of them across the whole season is going to be important.”
George Griffin and Greg Eden are also vying for a recall and Lewis Bienek could make his Tigers debut.
Rovers coach Tony Smith has named a 20-man squad and is without Elliot Minchella who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.
Korbin Sims and Matty Storton also drop out from the side beaten by St Helens, with Albert Vete, Will Dagger, Ethan Ryan, Rowan Milnes, Louis Johnson and Jimmy Keinhorst the players hoping to come in.
Hull KR: from Quinlan, Crooks, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Abdull, Hall, Vete, Parcell, Linnett, Hadley, Litten, Lawler, King, Dagger, Lewis, Ryan, Milnes, Johnson, Mustapha, Keinhorst.
Castleford Tigers: from Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Blair, Milner, Massey, Griffin, Hepi, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Eden, Turner, Bienek, O’Brien.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham). Kick-off: Friday, 6pm.
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