Castleford Tigers coach reveals extent of squad decimation ahead of Challenge Cup quarter-final tie

Ben Olawumi
Craig Lingard

Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard

Castleford Tigers’ squad has been decimated ahead of their Challenge Cup quarter-final tie against Wigan Warriors, with up to 15 players unavailable through injury, as detailed by boss Craig Lingard.

The Tigers host Wigan at the Jungle on Sunday afternoon, aiming to make it into the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup for the first time since 2021, when they were eventually beaten finalists in the competition.

And as they try to topple the champions of the world, who have already beaten them once this year in the opening round of the Super League season, Lingard’s side will be without a plethora of their squad.

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Castleford Tigers coach reveals extent of squad decimation ahead of Challenge Cup quarter-final tie

Cas – who beat Lingard’s former club Batley Bulldogs to book their quarter-final spot – got their first Super League win of the campaign last time out, coming out on top against Salford Red Devils at the Jungle.

That victory though came at a cost, as Lingard detailed with an injury update in his pre-match press conference looking ahead to Sunday’s cup tie.

The 46-year-old said: “We trained today and have currently got 15 that are injured. 13 are definitely out, and there are two that need fitness checks. The likelihood is that we’ll be naming a 19-man squad, at best.

Liam Watts failed his HIA last weekend so he’s automatically sat down.

Paul McShane did his hamstring again in the warm-up, but the strain is in a different place to the last one. He’s going to be at least two, three, four weeks.

Josh Simm has had a scan after dislocating his shoulder and unfortunately, it’s pretty much going to be a season-ending injury. He’s going in for an operation next week and it’s a five-to-six-month turnaround on that.

“We lost those three, and Joe Westerman has been struggling all week as well. With those four on top of the ones we had going into last week, it’s not an ideal situation.

“I can sit here and moan all I want about it, but it’s not going to change, so I might as well crack on with the guys that I’ve got.”

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