Castleford will be fully focused for cup tie

Justin Carney, back in contention for the Sheffield game after being rested against Warrington.
Justin Carney, back in contention for the Sheffield game after being rested against Warrington.

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell has promised that his side will not take fifth round Tetley’s Challenge Cup opponents Sheffield Eagles lightly.

Fresh from a happy Easter when they scored 83 points in Super League victories over Wakefield Wildcats and Warrington Wolves the Tigers take on Championship opposition this Sunday in a bid to reach the last eight of the cup, but they will prepare as if they are playing the best team in the country.

Powell said: “I know enough about Championship teams and what it means to them. I’ve been there and done that so we won’t be going into Sunday’s game half-hearted or lacking any respect for the opposition.

“I know Sheffield coach Mark Aston well and I know the players they’ve got.

“We’ll try and freshen up in the early part of the week and then we’ll look to really ramp up against Sheffield.

“It is a one-off game and anything can happen – if they go out and play exceptionally well they can put us under some pressure, but we will be fully focused on Sunday.

“There’s some real confidence running through us at the moment and we feel like we can challenge everyone. We want to do well in the Challenge Cup.”

Powell is still deciding whether to rest any players, but believes the Easter games proved he has the squad depth that enables him to rotate when he can as he used 22 players in the two matches.

He did, however, admit to having a few selection headaches ahead of the cup tie with competition for places hotting up in recent weeks with the return to action of Ryan Boyle, Ashley Gibson and Jake Webster and Kirk Dixon now getting close to full fitness again.

He said: “We’ll have full respect for Sheffield no question, but I need to pick the right team. We left a few out at Batley and I’ll decide in the week what I’m going to do.

“It’s a bit of a headache, but it’s a good headache, you’ve got players who are all pushing each other.

“I said right at the start that the depth of the squad is there for a reason. It’s there so players are constantly being pushed to improve their game and the players are going to continue throughout the year improving.

“I think the players are buying into it. I try and explain as much as I can the reasons why they are or aren’t playing. Sometimes you have to say it’s my call, that’s the way it is and it’s what I’m paid to do.

“Some players may want a little bit more game time. The key to that is that they play outstandingly well when they are out there and get an opportunity. When it comes to the real big games the blokes that are playing the best football will be out on the field.”