After losing the Featherstone game to the weather Castleford Tigers are hoping to arrange an extra pre-season game against Wakefield Wildcats on Sunday, February 9.
With several Tigers players yet to take the field ahead of the start of Super League 2014 next month head coach Daryl Powell wants an extra game to allow them the possibility of vital game time.
The game could also give Powell a chance to look at the progress of half-back Jamie Ellis and forward Nathan Massey following injuries that have ruled them out of the pre-season fixtures so far.
Neither are involved this Sunday when Castleford travel to play Bradford Bulls in their next warm-up with Powell naming an unchanged squad from the one that would have faced Featherstone. But backs Michael Shenton and Ashley Gibson and forwards Weller Hauraki and Adam Milner are set for their first outing in a strong looking 21-man selection.
With fierce competition for places it will be the last chance for some players to force their way into the starting line-up for the opening Super League game and Powell is looking for a good display at Odsal.
He said: “The Bradford game’s always been important in terms of building up to the season, but it’s now maybe more important even though we should have that extra game the week after.
“We’ve got a few boys coming back from injury and they need some game time.
“There’s people like Weller Hauraki and Michael Shenton who haven’t played yet as well and need to get a run.
“It was disappointing to lose the game at Featherstone because it was going to be a good game for us. But sometimes this happens in pre-season when you get poor weather and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
“But we’ve got the Bradford game this week then if we feel anybody is a bit down on game time they will play against Wakefield if we can get that arranged. So we’ve got a couple of options now, which will be perfect for us.
“We’ve talked a lot about having a depth of squad this year and that’s where our success is going to be with people really pressing each other so all the games are massively important for people to put themselves forward.”
Powell reckons the Bradford game will be just what the players need in their preparations for the season proper.
He added: “I’m expecting a pretty tough game. Bradford had a good win against Hull the other week, I watched that game and they looked pretty sharp.
“They’ve pretty much retained all their players so it will be a tough game and just what we need. There will be some challenges there for us.
“It’s our first hit out against a Super League team so it will be interesting. I am sure it will be competitive because we are only two weeks out from Super League.
“It gives us both a look at each other before we play again in the opening game. There’ll obviously be some things learned.
“It’s not going to have a reflection on the result whatever happens, but certainly you do get to have a look at each other and it will be interesting to see who manages to learn the most when we get into the Super League season for real.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game at Bradford (kick-off 3pm) are on sale, priced £15 adults, £10 concessions and £5 juniors, from the Tigers club shop in Carlton Lanes and online at www.castigers.com
Buses to Odsal Stadium will be departing from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on matchday. Seats are available for £8 per head from the Tigers club shop.