Castleford’s squad strength ready for big test

Ryan Hampshire, who will be given a chance to shine for Castleford Tigers against Salford.
Ryan Hampshire, who will be given a chance to shine for Castleford Tigers against Salford.

With six members of his first team squad missing Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is backing his “stand-ins” to make the most of their opportunity in this Sunday’s game against Salford Red Devils.

Already without Michael Shenton and Ash Robson to long term injuries and with Frankie Mariano still on the recovery road, the Tigers lost three more players for this Sunday’s game at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle when forwards Junior Moors and Grant Millington and half-back Ben Roberts suffered knocks in the 28-22 defeat at St Helens.

All six players will be unavailable for the visit of Salford, but head coach Powell is confident in his squad and believes the players who come in this week can do a good job as Cas look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season.

He told the Express: “Junior Moors broke a bone in his hand and has had an operation. We are looking at about six weeks he’ll be out.

“Benny Roberts is still in a boot, but it’s not serious so hopefully it will just be a week.

“I’m hoping the same with Grant Millington. He hyperextended his elbow and again there is no break in there so hopefully he will not be out for too long.

“It could have been worse, but it’s disappointing to lose Junior for a fair period because he’s been playing well.

“It may only be one week absences for the other two, but we will have to wait and see how that pans out.

“I think we’re okay elsewhere for injuries and we have a good deep squad so it’s time for some guys to put themselves forward and play well.”

Castleford have back rower Oliver Holmes back after he missed last week’s game and winger Joel Monaghan is also back in contention after missing the last two matches while the on-loan Ryan Hampshire will be given the chance to stake his half-back claim in the absence of Roberts.

Powell explained: “It will be a good opportunity for Ryan. He’s been waiting patiently for the last four games.

“The half-backs have been playing really well and we’ve started the season really positively. But Ryan gets an opportunity now and it’s down to him to show us that he should be in the team every week.

“He’s been going well in training. He’s been getting better every week, just understanding the way that we play and he needs an opportunity to play alongside Galey and the first team boys now.

“He’s had a good look at it and now is his chance to grasp it with both hands.

“We’ve got three enforced changes so I don’t think I’ll be making many other changes to the squad.

“There’s probably one in terms of drop of form and there’s a couple of players who are probably fortunate on the performances from last week.

“But obviously having lost Shenton, Robson and Mariano then another three it eats into your squad a little bit.”