Castleford Tigers boss Ian Millward has given his players a big vote of confidence after announcing he was proud of their efforts so far this season.
Although a late Wigan try condemned the Tigers to a first home defeat of the season last Sunday the players left the field to a standing ovation after a scintillating attacking display in the second half and Millward is hoping for more of the same at Hull FC tonight when he will stick with the same starting line-up if possible.
He has one injury concern and will check on the fitness of centre Jake Webster, who had to leave the field against Wigan with a leg injury, before naming his 17-man line-up.
It would be a blow to lose Webster after the big Kiwi centre smashed holes in the Wigan defence and was Millward’s choice as man of the match, but it is hoped he will be fit enough to start and he has been included in the initial 19-man squad.
Millward told the Express: “We are hopeful that all 17 from last week are fit and available and we’re not looking at making any changes.
“We do have some bumps and bruises and it is a Sunday into a Friday game. At the moment we’re hopeful everyone’s fit and I’ll go with the same squad.
“Jake Webster is the one in a little bit of doubt. Lee Gilmour also had to come off against Wigan with a neck injury, but we’re confident he will be all right for Friday’s game.
“If Jake’s out we can always move Justin Carney into the centres.
“All I can ask is they do their best again. We want to keep the momentum going.
“I think every game has been encouraging and I’m really proud of the players.
“We’ve got another tough game now against Hull who are very hard to beat at their place.
“Obviously they are under pressure, but they’ve got a big squad and they’ve spent spend enormously in the off season.
“It’s not easy to turn round from Sunday to Friday when the other team’s had a full week, but you just have to get on with it and it’s not something you dwell on. We need to concentrate on playing as well as we have been doing so far this season.”
Millward is hoping for a change of fortune from the officials at Hull after crucial decisions have gone against the Tigers in recent weeks and denied them points against Catalan and Wigan.
He said: “Unfortunately once again when we have come to look at the video there were a couple of forward passes and a couple of decisions by the referee when he didn’t give us drop-outs when we deserved it.
“Even when Rangi hit the post with that shot at goal they ruled the players were inside the 10, but they were way outside the 10.”
While maintaining his side were unlucky to lose to Wigan, Millward was pleased once again with the way the Cas fans got behind the team even when they were 22-4 down at one stage.
He added: “I thought the fans were fantastic. The support is really starting to build.
“It was the biggest crowd outside of the St Helens game and it’s great they are seeing what the players are doing and giving them some great support.
“The fans were fantastic against Leeds, fantastic against Catalan and against Warrington they were outstanding in the belief they had in us.
“Against Bradford they understood the situation we were in when were down to 11 men.”