Castleford coach Daryl Powell has laughed off talk of his counterpart at Hull FC, Lee Radford, being under any sort of pressure ahead of their meeting on Thursday night.
The Tigers head to the KCOM Stadium looking to inflict a thirteenth consecutive competitive defeat on Radford and Hull, as well as a second at the start of the 2019 campaign.
But Powell believes the job Radford has done at Hull in steering them to back-to-back Challenge Cup titles deserves more respect.
He said: “They played well last week, it was a good game. Hull KR defended really well. Hull are moving the ball a bit more than they did last year, particularly in yardage areas.
“I thought they really challenged Hull KR and they lost at the death so it’s ridiculous. Radders has done a great job there. Particularly the back end of last year the amount of injuries they had, they’ve had a tough period, but this will be a tough game.
“They look like they are well motivated this season. You’re always looking at the way a team’s organised, how well motivated they are. They are all characteristics that a coach brings to a team and they look in good shape.”
Powell will weigh up his options for Thursday’s clash at Hull, as the Tigers look to make it successive wins at the start of the new season, after injuries to two key forwards.
Mike McMeeken left the field with a head knock in the opening exchanges against Catalans last Friday, while Matt Cook is injured.
“Matt is a doubt. He probably won’t play,” Powell said. “There’s a couple of changes in there, but we’re not far off. I thought Alex Foster did a great job in the back-row when he came on for Mike so he will take that role again.
“The bench will change a little bit. We’ve got Mitch Clark to come in and Ben Roberts is fit and available so I’ll make a call on the bench.”