Head coach looking forward to Castleford’s biggest challenge

Daryl Powell.
Daryl Powell.

As a Castleford supporter from being a youngster Daryl Powell needs no reminding of what a Wembley appearance can do for the club, the town and the supporters.

Head coach Powell now has the job of guiding the club to their first appearance at Wembley since 1992 and is ensuring the players are fully prepared for the task when they take on Widnes Vikings in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village.

He said: “Obviously it’s a significant game. Semi-finals are always big games and the chance to go to Wembley is fantastic. We’ve got to deliver a performance that gives us the opportunity to do that.

“It will mean a hell of a lot to the people of the town. Wembley and the Challenge Cup has got a special place in the heartbeat and the history of the club so it will be immense to get there again.

“For us it’s a game we need to perform in. We can’t get caught up in the emotion of all that, it’s about keeping our feet on the ground and not getting too carried away because we’ve got to deliver on the field.

“We need calmness under pressure, some composure and to play our game effectively and that should give us a good chance to come out on top. But there’s a team on the other side of the Pennines saying the same thing, of course.”

Powell does not believe that the Tigers’ two Super League victories over Widnes this season will have any bearing on Sunday’s game.

He said: “We know where they’ve got some weaknesses and they’ll know where we have. The battle in the middle of the field is going to be crucial. They came after us pretty heavy the last time we played them and we are really going to have to front up and get over the top of them there.

“There’s not a lot between the two teams. They’ll start as favourites with us missing a few key players and them having Kevin Brown in the form he’s in. Field position is going to be massive, but we’ve just got to play our game and if we do then we are confident.

“We’ve stabilised after the couple of losses after the cup quarter-final. We’re in good form, not great, but this is an opportunity to get back to that great form.”

Powell is expecting a great atmosphere at Leigh with all the tickets sold and a 12,000 attendance guaranteed.

He added: “It’s a good stadium, a good pitch and I think the atmosphere over there is going to be magnificent.

“There will be a lot of Castleford fans there and they will give it a great feel so we are looking forward to walking out and facing up to our biggest challenge this year.”