CASTLEFORD TIGERS are favourites to snatch the final Betfred Super League play-off spot, but loose-forward Adam Milner insists nothing is being taken for granted going into the last round of the regular season.
A 44-12 thrashing of Hull seven days ago moved Tigers – who visit Wigan Warriors tomorrow – into fifth place, above the East Yorkshire side on for and against.
The top-five was Tigers’ minimum target at the start of the season and that is within touching distance, but Milner reckons there’s still work to be done.
“We are not quite there yet,” he warned.
“We’re in by points difference, so it is a big game for us.
“We are certainly not resting on our laurels, but it was massive for us to get the win [last Thursday].
“It was a four-pointer, it has put us into fifth and we’ve just got this week to concentrate on now.”
A win at DW Stadium would guarantee Tigers’ place in the play-offs.
They could lose and still qualify if Hull are beaten at home by St Helens on Friday, but Milner stressed they don’t want to rely on the league leaders doing them a favour.
“Both us and Hull have tough games,” he noted.
“Wigan are the form team at the minute and Saints are on a bit of a fightback after losing the Challenge Cup final.
“All four teams will have a point to prove so we have got to be on our game and back [last week] up.”
Tigers also want to go into the play-offs on the back of a win and a good performance.
“I’d say the last 10 weeks we have been building,” Milner reflected.
“There’s been a few slip ups in there, but overall we are pretty happy where we’re at.
“We are building a bit of momentum coming into the play-offs, we had a big result last week and hopefully we can do that again.”
Tigers have been hit by injuries to key players all year – a situation which began when Luke Gale suffered a ruptured Achilles in pre-season – and Milner reckons a top-five finish would be an achievement, whatever happens after that.
He said: “It would be massive.
“The team has been shaken about left, right and centre this year with injuries and whatnot, but we have got into a groove over the last 10 games and found some form pretty much at the right time.”
Coach Daryl Powell will select tomorrow’s side from the 17 on duty against Hull, plus Chris Clarkson and Calum Turner.
Grant Millington has been included despite hobbling off in the first half of last Thursday’s game and Milner was given the all-clear after a head injury assessment.
He collided with team-mate Oliver Holmes and said: “I am all right.
“I thought it was his hip, but obviously it was his hand.
“He got me right on the temple, but I was all right to go back on.”
Wigan are without Liam Farrell who is serving a one-game ban following a dangerous throw in their win over Catalans Dragons last Friday.
Sean O’Loughlin, Ben Flower and Chris Hankinson could all be recalled to the 17.
Wigan Warriors from: Burgess, Byrne, Clubb, Flower, French, Gildart, Greenwood, Hankinson, Hardaker, Isa, Leuluai, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Partington, Powell, Sarginson, H Smith, Smithies, Williams.
Castleford Tigers from: Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Cook, Ellis, Holmes, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, D Smith, Trueman, Turner, Watts.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.