Castleford Tigers could welcome SIX key players back for Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves
AFTER three-straight defeats, Daryl Powell feels that nobody will give Castleford Tigers a chance of reaching the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
The Tigers face Warrington Wolves in the semi-final of the competition on Saturday evening, aiming to book their first appearance in the final since 2014.
Castleford head into the Cup contest on the back of a humiliating 60-6 loss at the hands of Leeds Rhinos last week. They have lost their last three Super League games, including a 38-14 defeat against the Wolves just under two weeks ago.
“We have got an opportunity to put it straight against a team who is bang in form,” said Powell.
“Clearly, nobody is going to give us a chance. We have got to turn it around pretty quickly and get ourselves ready for a huge game that is pretty significant.
“We have to remain calm and focus on what we do from here on in.”
Injuries have plagued the Tigers in recent weeks.
Powell’s side defeated Warrington when the sides met on the opening weekend of the Super League season and the Castleford coach is confident they can return to form when key players become fit again.
Niall Evalds, Jake Trueman, Oliver Holmes, Nathan Massey, Adam Milner and Michael Shenton were all missing against Leeds but the majority, if not all, those players will be available to take on the Wire at the Leigh Sports Village.
“In round one, we were capable of beating Warrington and we started the season really well,” continued Powell.
“We have gradually lost player after player which has made it a little bit harder for us.
“I am not excusing anything but when you look at our team-sheet over the last couple of weeks you will see we have lost a lot of players. That is actual fact.
“I understand everyone being disappointed, it is disappointing that since fans have come back in, we haven’t performed.
“We can put all that behind us, if we win a game this week then everybody is smiling.”
The Challenge Cup final will be held on July 17 with St Helens and Hull FC going head-to-head in the other semi-final.
Powell admits that some players have played their way out of the semi-final, following the defensive display in last week’s defeat to the Rhinos.
He added: “Ultimately, we have got to get a team out there that can defend better than Friday night. Some of the defensive efforts were unbelievably unacceptable.
“Those boys won’t be in the team, I need to pick a team that can defend.
“We had three quarters of our spine missing. It is hard but I need to get a team out there that can get us to a Challenge Cup final.”