Injury-hit Tigers take on champs

Paul Jackson, out of the Castleford Tigers side to face Wigan.
Paul Jackson, out of the Castleford Tigers side to face Wigan.

CASTLEFORD Tigers have to contend with a shortage of players to pick from as they travel across the Pennines to play champions Wigan tonight.

Tigers boss Terry Matterson said that even with the inclusion of new loan signing Rob Parker they were down to virtually the last 17 players for the trip to Wigan. But he promised that those that make the side would do their utmost to restore some pride after heavy defeats in the last two Super League matches against Catalan and Warrington.

He said: “We’ve been really disappointed with our last two performances and the players are hurting.

“It seems like it gets tougher with Wigan the next opponents and it looks like we’re going to have a maximum of 17 or 18 players to pick from and that includes Greg Eden and Rob Parker.

“We’ve got ten players on the sidelines, two of those are out for the season and one of them’s in jail, but there are seven others who were unable to play.

“But the 17 that do play have got to do the jumper proud. What we need is to get a performance because we’ve got some really big games coming up. The first of them is against Wigan and we’ve got to get a performance on the board.

“We want to do better than we did when having three games over Easter. The first two we were there or thereabouts, but then fell off in the third game against Leeds. We’re in a similar position I suppose so I don’t think we can dwell on that experience.

“We’ve got to do a lot better and we understand the task. We’re playing against the champions on their home ground. They’re in pretty good form and they’re fit, I think they’ve only got two out.

“It’s all against us, but what we’ve got to do is get out there and perform and try and win this game.

“We can take some heart from what we did against them at home a few weeks ago and the way Leeds challenged them last week.”

Castleford travel without long term absentees Craig Huby, Jonathan Walker and Martin Aspinwall plus Danny Orr, Ryan Hudson, Kirk Dixon, Nick Youngquest, Paul Jackson, Willie Isa, Jordan Thompson, but Dean Widders and Daryl Clark could come in after missing out against Warrington and prop Parker is in line to make his Tigers debut after joining on a month’s loan from Salford.

After announcing their initial 19-man squad on Monday they were forced to make two late changes with youngsters John Davies and Charlie Martin coming into in for experienced duo Hudson and Orr, who both have failed fitness tests this morning having suffered knocks in Friday’s game.

Davies, 20, is in line to make his second Super League appearance, but for Martin, 18, it would be his first team debut. He has impressed in the Rugby League Nines competition and is a member of the club’s AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) programme, who train on a near full-time basis.