Cas5tleford Tigers will be starting with a clean sheet when they begin preparations for next Friday’s visit of Huddersfield Giants.
That is the view of forward Chris Clarkson who says having no game this weekend will freshen up Tigers for what will be a crucial final 13 games of the regular season.
The 36-16 defeat by St Helens last Sunday was Castleford’s fifth loss in six league and cup games, but Clarkson insisted the long turnaround to their next match will be put to good use.
He said: “The first thing is we need to get our rest, get some time away from each other and have a think about what we need to improve on, both personally and as a team collectively.
“When we come back in it is like a new page, we’ve had that time off and we can start again and hopefully hit the ground running.”
Tigers are fifth in the Betfred Super League table, despite only four wins from their last 12 fixtures in the competition and remain masters of their own play-offs destiny.
The top-five will qualify and Clarkson admitted that is the immediate target.
“Obviously we want to make the top-five,” he said.
“That’s what we are aiming for and it’s still in our own hands.
“We are confident we can play well against the teams around us, it’s just when we play teams like St Helens and Warrington to a certain extent, how do we get to their level?
“We have to think about what we need to do to match them and get a bit closer to them.”
Some of Tigers’ long-term injuries are beginning to clear up and Clarkson reckons that will help.He said: “There’s a few lads coming back, but still the injury list is long.
“You get that experience back and maybe you are looking at a totally different team and a totally different mentality. It will be massive to get some lads back, but we will just do our job with what we’ve got now.
“We are very capable – we just need to think about how we get to that top level.” Huddersfield have begun to find their feet after a poor start to the season and are up to eighth in the table, just two points behind Castleford.
That makes next Friday a big game for both clubs.
“The middle of the table, from third or fourth to seventh or eighth, is very tight,” Clarkson noted. “They are all big games. Huddersfield put in a good performance against Hull [last week] and they are looking good at the minute.
“It would be good for us to go against them and play well.”
Giants won 20-18 when the sides met at John Smith’s Stadium in April so Tigers owe them one.“That wasn’t a great performance,” Clarkson recalled.
“We will be looking to pick ourselves up and go again.”