With a top four spot for the Super 8s sealed, Daryl Powell wants his Castleford Tigers team to kick on now and earn a top two place – and a home game in the end of the season play-offs.
The Tigers head coach is stressing that there is plenty at stake for his side in tomorrow night’s game at home to Huddersfield Giants.
The visitors will come to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle desperate for the two points that would clinch them a Super 8s place, but Cas are equally keen as six more victories from their remaining nine matches will ensure their play-offs spot and they are chasing as many wins as possible to edge out Wigan and Warrington for second place.
Powell told the Express: “I think it’s been a massive effort to get where we have so far because of the injuries. It’s given us a good opportunity to kick on.
“Finishing second has now got to be the target for us.
“The top two, whether you are league leaders’ or not, you get exactly the same. You are one win away from the final and it’s on your own ground – there’s a big benefit there from finishing in the top two and we’d like to achieve that.
“We have got a good lead over Hull in fifth and I’m hopeful we can do something about that again. Hull have got a tough game at Wakefield and we’ve got a tough game here against Huddersfield. If we can get it right then it keeps us in a really strong position.
“At this stage of the season to have the points difference we have at the moment with the team in fifth is great, but it doesn’t really stand for much if you don’t keep that consistency and focus.
“It gives us a great chance moving forward, but we don’t want to rest on anything, we want to keep doing what we’ve been doing well.”
Joe Wardle will be unable to play against his former club tomorrow night after injuring his ankle, but Castleford could have three players back with Powell admitting he has a few selection decisions of the more welcome kind to make.
He explained: “We’re still checking on a few players, but Joe Wardle is out and Jamie Ellis and Nathan Massey will be available again.
“There will be a little bit of adjustment with the 19 and the team on game day, but there won’t be a massive amount of changes with the boys going well at the moment. There will be a tough decision to make on who drops out, but overall I am pleased with what we’ve got.
“Joe Wardle doesn’t look as bad as we first thought. He was in a lot of pain, it was pretty swollen and we thought he may have broken his ankle, but early signs and the scans are showing that he will be out weeks rather than months, which is obviously positive.
“In the back row I need to make a decision on Mike McMeeken as well. He may come back in, but we’ll see how he responds from Tuesday’s training session.”