Huddersfield coach Rick Stone admits his side may well need to win all their remaining fixtures to stand a chance of making the Super League play-offs.
With four games remaining in the Super 8s, the Giants are three points adrift of fourth-placed Wakefield. They host the league leaders, Castleford, this Friday night at the John Smith’s Stadium in their return to action following the break for the Challenge Cup final.
And Stone concedes that while it may take a clean sweep to give them a chance of the top four, his side are in a position to be able to trouble anyone following an impressive win against Hull a fortnight ago.
He said: “We may have to win four to make it into the top four, we realise that, but we’re probably in a good place at the moment to come up against Castleford. Injury-wise we’re a little bit healthier than we have been for the last few weeks. There’s some good belief, momentum, and confidence in the side, so it’s as good as time as any.”
Stone, however, still thinks the race for the top four will go right down to the wire.
“Everyone has to play everyone,” he said.
“It’s funny how things can change so dramatically. I think it’s going to be settled in the last round. It’s still a few weeks away for us, so we’ve got a tough ask against the competition leaders, the benchmark of the competition this year, so let’s just focus on that and if we can get over that one then we will look at the following week.”
And Stone also said he expects no drop-off in intensity from a Castleford side who have been the benchmark for the rest of the competition so far this season.
He said of Castleford: “They’ve been the standout team in the competition. The table reflects that. They’re ten points ahead of the next team so they’re probably 15 to 20 per cent better than any other side in the competition at the moment.
“We had a decent game against them at home, and we were missing a few key players. It was a long time ago now though and they’ve been pretty consistent all year.
“They’ve still got to keep building some momentum. Now they’ve won the League Leaders’ Shield, they want to keep building, keep some momentum going towards the semi-finals, which is really important at this time of the year. I expect after a week off that they want to get straight back on the horse.”