CASTLEFORD coach Daryl Powell has described tonight’s Super League derby opponents Wakefield as a “difficult team to play against.”
He expects a tough battle at Belle Vue as the Tigers go in search of a tenth straight league win that would put them ten points clear at the top of the table.
Castleford are already guaranteed to finish the regular season as league leaders and could have a semi-final spot in the bag before the Super 8s begin.
“Wakefield have good players across pretty much every position. It will be tough, it always is,” said Powell.
“Chris Chester (Trinity coach) has done a great job and they are in a good place and they are a difficult team to play against.
“A derby game is massive for the fans and I think players get a sense of it, particularly players who come from this area because it’s obviously a close rivalry.
“Wakey and Cas fans are all working alongside each other, day to day, and they certainly let each other know who comes out on top.”
Ireland international half-back Liam Finn, who played under Powell at Featherstone Rovers and Castleford, has been an important player for resurgent Trinity this season.
“Finny has been a really good general for them. We know all about him. He’s a good quality player,” added the Tigers boss.
“Wakefield are a good side. They look like a team that are happy with themselves. They are playing well and they challenge you.
“They’ve got speed, real speed on the edges, and the forward pack is pretty big so they are a tough team to play against.”
Powell believes all Castleford’s opponents raise their game when they face the runaway league leaders.
“Teams every week are after us. They know they can’t turn up with a 50 per cent performance and beat us.
“They have got to play well so the motivation for other teams is big for all sorts of reasons,” he said.
“Obviously, we are top of the table and there’s individual players coming up against each other.
“We’ve got quite a few players in the England squad now so the challenges are there for us every week and generally I think we’ve handled them really well.
“The challenge for us is to keep doing that week after week.”
Powell added: “We’ve still got Matt Cook, Junior Moors and Ollie Holmes injured.
“A couple of those guys will start coming back around the Catalans game (July 22) which will be great and then Junior potentially three games into the Super 8s so we will start getting some troops back.
“Junior Moors was a big loss and Matt Cook at the same time but Gadwin Springer and Larne Patrick have come back in and done well.”
Castleford’s squad tonight is:
Eden, Foster, Gale, Hardaker, Hitchcox, Lynch, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Monaghan, Patrick, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.