Daryl Powell is still looking for his first win against Leeds Rhinos since taking over as Castleford Tigers head coach, but sees tonight’s game against the Super League leaders as a big opportunity to change that.
Since Powell arrived the Tigers have consistently pushed the Rhinos without being able to quite get over the line to beat them, but they will be making the short travel in good spirits after back to back victories.
Powell said: “I think we’ve got a really good chance to go there and put a marker down for our season.
“I think over the last couple of weeks we’ve given ourselves a real chance.
“It doesn’t really matter what happened in the cup final. Both teams went there to try and win and they were just a little bit too good for us on the day, but this game is just about us, the way we prepare ourselves and the way we go about our business.
“We know it’s going to be tough. It’s one of those 50-50 games if we’re on the money so individually we need to be outstanding and collectively we’ve got to defend well.
“We were outstanding there last year and drew the game so we know we can go there and perform well.
“Obviously it’s a slightly different team this year, but I think we’ve shown some good signs over the last couple of games and there’s a real good feel about the boys and the way they are going about their business.
“It’s a tough game, it always is, but we want to go and challenge them, put them under pressure and make them work for everything.
“Leeds are certainly a tough team to play against this year. They take the odds to quite a few things with the offloads and the way they shift the ball so we are going to have to be really good.
“I just look at the boys at the minute and think there’s something growing about them.”
Castleford have hooker Scott Moore and former Leeds prop Ryan Bailey back in their squad and Powell is relieved to have no fresh injury concerns with several others also close to returning.
He explained: “Scott Moore, after getting knocked out the week before, will be back available and Ryan Bailey will be available so that gives us a little bit more in terms of our middle men where we were pretty skinny last week.
“Potentially Justin Carney and Matt Cook will be available next week, which will be pretty handy.
“Scott Wheeldon will be a little bit further down the track. I’m not certain on him, he will be another month at least. We’ll keep checking on him, but it was a pretty bad injury he got.
“Lee Jewitt’s wife has just had twins and they were early, at 26 weeks. He’s had a hip injury that’s caused him a bit of trouble and that’s the reason he’s been missing.
“I haven’t an exact date on when Lee will be back, but I’m hoping he’ll be available in the next couple of weeks.”