Castleford hope to have key duo back for cup tie

Luke Gale, back in training.
Luke Gale, back in training.

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell hopes to have skipper Luke Gale and back rower Mike McMeeken back available for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at Wigan.

Both players have been among the best performers this season for the Tigers, but were left out of the team that narrowly lost to Hull after picking up injuries .

Gale is on the mend after an ankle injury and McMeeken is in contention again after a head knock meant it necessary to give him a rest.

Powell explained: “I don’t know exactly what the team will be yet, but there are a couple there who potentially could come back.

“Luke Gale will potentially be available. He was back in training yesterday and we will take it from there. Mike McMeeken as well potentially could be back so we’ve got a few people to check on.

“Mike got a bit of a head knock against Wigan. That was few weeks ago, but he’s just been struggling for a bit.

“We didn’t think there was any real issue there, but he was really struggling last week so we decided to give him a breather. It was pretty important for him to take a rest.

“He’s hardly missed anything this year. it’s been tough for him and he’s really dug in, in the absence of some key players in the back row for us.

“He had a rest and we’ll see how he is this week.”

Elsewhere in the team, Cas could be without outside back Joel Monaghan after he suffered a hamstring injury, but Powell expects the rest of the team that played against Hull to be available.

He said: “We’ve got some bumps and bruises and blokes who are struggling to train.

“We’ve got a couple of people who won’t train until the final session, but that tends to happen at this time of year.

“We are mindful of the injury list and making sure we don’t pick any more up, which is obviously crucial to us.

“I’m not sure how Joel Monaghan’s going to be with his hamstring injury. He’d be the only one who’d be a bit of a risk, a bit of a doubt, but we’ll see how he is as we roll through the week.”

Castleford are taking a huge travelling support over to Wigan for the Saturday tea-time kick-off with 20 coaches going from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle from 1.15pm and Powell is looking forward to the backing his team will receive.

He said: “Wherever we go we’ve got fantastic support and we know they will get behind the players.

“It’s going to be a big following and the players have got to respond to that.

Obviously you get your own motivations as players and as coaches. We’re going to have a massive amount of motivation on Saturday – we’re looking forward to it.

“They are always big games against Wigan.

“They see themselves as one of the big clubs and being one of the big ones for a number of years, but that doesn’t give them the right to beat us and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“Sometimes when we’ve beaten them in the past they’ve been pretty dispirited because it’s little old Cas beating them.

“For us, we believe we’re a good side. It’s been tough for us for different reasons this year and we need to strike back and keep fighting them.”