CASTLEFORD TIGERS need to be hungrier than the opposition when they visit lowly Huddersfield Giants on Sunday, forward Grant Millington says.
Tigers began Betfred Super League round 26 in sixth place and with everything to play for over their final four games.
Millington reckons they will have to take that urgency into what he expects will be a close battle against a Huddersfield team equally desperate for a win.
“At this time of year people are fighting for different reasons,” Millington warned.
“They are fighting for points to get themselves out of the relegation battle, but we are fighting for points to get into that top-five.
“It is a case of us having to go out there wanting to win more than them and playing well.”
Tigers, who lost by two points at Huddersfield in April, came unstuck in similar circumstances two weeks ago when they were beaten in sudden-death extra-time at Giants’ fellow strugglers Hull KR.
“We’ve got to learn lessons from the past, otherwise we are not going to get anywhere,” Millington said. “We’ve got to go out there and learn our lessons and understand we are probably not going to blow them off the park because these guys are fighting for their survival.
“It is going to be a close match and a tough one, but if we are consistent with our performance and perform to the ability we know we can I am sure we’ll be fine and we’ll come back with two points.”
Consistency, though, is something Tigers have lacked this year. They went from March to July without recording back-to-back wins and Millington admitted: “We have struggled with it, but against these sides below us – definitely the ones around the bottom – we should be picking up two points and we should be well above where we are now on the table.
“It is disappointing, but we are still in with a chance.”
Tigers visit Coral Challenge Cup finalists St Helens in two weeks’ time – six days after Wembley – and finish the regular season with games at home to Hull and away against Wigan Warriors.
Millington insisted: “We have got a tough run home, but we have to set our sights on winning all our [remaining] games.
“If we can do it we will have played a lot of the top sides and we will really be steeled, ready to go for the play-offs, which I think will be important.
“The games we have got left are going to be high pressure matches. If you can take that into a semi-final it is going to hold you in good stead, having that practice of tight games and high pressure football and high completion football.”
Chris Clarkson (hamstring) has joined Tigers’ injury list, but Greg Minikin (knee) and Adam Milner (rib) could return tomorrow and Cory Aston is also in contention. With Liam Watts still sidelined by finger and ankle injuries, Millington accepts he has to step up.
“I haven’t had my best year,” he reflected. “I have sort of struggled a bit with consistency in my own game.
“Wattsy is a massive part of our pack and has probably been our best player for the year and it has been a case of everyone having to step up.
“I’ve taken it on myself to do more organising and to get my hands on the ball a bit more.
“I’ve enjoyed that role, but it is a team thing for us. Wattsy does leave a big hole, but we’ve been speaking about it a lot – if everyone does their job and does it well we will be fine.”
Matty English (concussion) drops out from the Giants team which lost at Salford Red Devils last week, along with former Castleford man Joe Wardle.
Alex Mellor, Adam Walne, Sam Hewitt and Innes Senior are all vying for a recall to the 17.
Huddersfield Giants: from McIntosh, McGillvary, Gaskell, Leeming, Matagi, Mellor, Lawrence, O’Brien, Roberts, Ta’ai, Jake Wardle, Russell, Holmes, Ikahihifo, Walne, Hewitt, L Senior, I Senior, Wilson.
Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Blair, Clare, Egodo, Ellis, Holmes, Maher, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, O’Neill, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Smith. Trueman.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).
Kick-off: Sunday, 3pm.