Castleford Tigers are in confident mood ahead of a game head coach Daryl Powell describes as the biggest since he came to the club.
Preparations for Saturday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final at Wigan Warriors could not have gone much better on the field for the Tigers with three straight wins and 138 points served up in the process and now they want to put on a show in front of the BBC cameras at the DW Stadium.
“We’ve played a lot of games against the better teams since I came to Castleford, but in terms of outcome and what it gets the club with revenue and opportunity it’s the biggest game that I’ve been in charge of,” Powell told the Express.
“It’s great for the fans to have the excitement and anticipation of a great cup tie, but for us it’s about the nuts and bolts and getting our job done. We have to be outstanding to win the game.
“We’ve been the big improvers defensively this year and we’ve got to continue that. And with the ball we’re going to need to challenge them.
“But we’ve played them twice while I’ve been at the club and we’ve won them both so I’d like to think that we can do it again.
“All the stats show there’s not much between the teams, which is great that we are over half-way into the season and we are talking about our team in such a way.
“We shouldn’t fear anything. We’re going to go there and look to really challenge them and go after the game.
“I think we’ve got the players to do it. We’ve got the strong team ethic, the camaraderie and the togetherness. Everything we need is there, but it’s just about delivering it on the big stage.
“I’m confident we can do it, I think the players are confident we can do it and it’s about playing as well as we can do.
“It’s a great opportunity to show what we can do. Sky have done a massive amount for our sport over a number of years now, but the BBC takes you out to a big audience. It’s on prime time Saturday and we want to show why everybody’s talking about us in a positive way now.
“We want to deliver a vibrant performance and there’s a real feeling we can do that.”
Powell is pleased with his team’s form going into the tie.
He said: “It’s important that we’re going into the game in good form. Obviously the draw was made a fair while ago and form can vary leading into games like this, but ours has maintained.
“Even when we lost to Huddersfield and Leeds we were good for large parts of those games so our form’s good. We’re confident, we know what we’re about, we know what we do well and we’ve got a tough group as well.”
Powell is predicting an intense battle.
He added: “We’ve got a fair challenge in front of us. Wigan won everything last year so we know they’ll be tough to beat.
“Whether they’ve been playing with their young players or their experienced ones they’ve shown they are formidable opponents and we are going to need to be at our best to come away with a win.
“But we know what we’ve got to do and we’ve worked on some things this week in preparation and we’ll continue to do that on Thursday and Friday leading into what is going to be a huge game for us.
“It’s going to be a different encounter, certainly to last week, and probably different to anything we’ve faced previously this season.
“It’s likely to be intense. You see the way Shaun Wane goes about preparing his team and you watch the intense battle they had against Leeds at the Magic Weekend and it could be something similar.”
Castleford will be without centre Michael Channing after he was ruled out for a month with a groin injury picked up against Hull KR. Star winger Justin Carney also sits out the second game in his two match ban, but Powell hopes to have former Wigan forward Lee Jewitt available again after he missed last week’s game with a back problem.