Tomorrow’s fifth versus fourth showdown with Hull is a Betfred Super League four-pointer, Castleford Tigers half-back Jordan Rankin says.
Rankin was on the winning side against one of his former clubs last week when Tigers beat Huddersfield Giants 27-26 in golden-point extra-time.
He will face another tomorrow evening and, with only two points between them on the league ladder, reckons the fixture could be pivotal in the race to qualify for the play-offs.
“This game is massive,” Rankin said.
“They are close to us on the table so to get the two points off them would be a massive step towards us securing a top five place for the end of the season.
“Every win from here to the end of the season will be pretty big for us.”
Hull have been arguably the most inconsistent team in Super League this year.
Rankin described the recent form of tomorrow’s visitors as “patchy”, but stressed Tigers have to expect them to be at their best.
“We have to be on defensively if we’re going to shut down a Hull team that’s been playing pretty decent footy over the last month or two,” he warned.
“They are a team that you have to be wary of as they have so many individuals that if you let them get a roll on they will continue to do that to you for the full 80 minutes.
“They have players who can put you to the sword like Marc Sneyd and Albert Kelly and we have to be wary of that.”
Jesse Sene-Lefao is available for Tigers after returning from compassionate leave in Australia.
Junior Moors and Cory Aston are also vying for a recall with Mitch Clark dropping out from the team on duty last week.
Scott Taylor has recovered from a calf injury and is set to return for Hull.
Jez Litten, Danny Washbrook, Kieran Buchanan and Jack Brown are also in contention, but missing from the team which beat Salford Red Devils last week are Sika Manu (dead leg), Josh Griffin (suspended) and Josh Bowden (rested).
Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Cook, Eden, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Trueman, Watts.
Hull: from Shaul, Faraimo, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Hadley, Minichiello, Westerman, Connor, Green, Fash, Paea, Litten, Washbrook, Naulago, Savelio, Brown, Buchanan.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.