Castleford coach Daryl Powell wants to see his so-called fringe players step up in the absence of some of his big hitters following the loss of more key personnel ahead of this weekend’s clash with Salford.
The Tigers are without Adam Milner, Jake Webster and Larne Patrick for Friday’s game following the win against Wakefield last weekend – with the trio missing out for a variety of reasons.
Milner is set for a four to six week absence with a foot problem; Castleford hope Webster will not be out for too long after suffering a rib problem while Patrick is being sent for tests over a health issue which Powell would not reveal the details of.
He said: “We’re doing it tough with having a few middle men missing. The onus will be on our pack to step up and do a job. It’s four to six weeks for Adam. We’re not absolutely certain, we may be able to shave more off that but it is a blow. The one bonus is that after next week we get a breather with the week off, but it’s not something we’d want to be happening at this stage.”
However, Powell did admit that he is poised to welcome back some longer-term injury victims in the coming weeks.
He said: “We’re still planning on Cookie (Matt Cook) being available next week. Oliver Holmes isn’t too far away and Junior (Moors) is probably around the time of the Challenge Cup final, in and around there.
“He’d be a massive plus for us. Leading into that is the chance for some of our other players to put their hand up and say they can do the job we need them to do.”
Castleford’s opponents on Friday are the only side the Tigers have yet to beat this season, having lost at Salford way back in round five of the new season.
He said: “They’ve been consistent all year. They’ve had a period where they lost a few in the league and Leeds went after them last week, but the hard thing for them, and we know this from experience in 2014, is that when you get to the last four of the cup, it creates a different distraction.
“Being able to hold your nerve around that period is difficult and it’s an interesting one for them. But they’ve been outstanding this year and they fully deserve to be where they are.”