Daryl Powell, the head coach of runaway Betfred Super League leaders Castleford Tigers (2/9 in match betting), has put the onus on his pack to step up in Friday’s match against Salford Red Devils (100/30 in match betting).
Castleford, seeking a maiden league title, could move ten points clear at the top with an 11th straight win against a Red Devils side who conceded nine tries at home to a rampant Leeds Rhinos last weekend (4/6 Castleford try – first scoring play).
And Powell will be grateful to get his players back on home turf at Mend-A-Hose Jungle after criticising the uneven surface the Tigers faced at Belle Vue last week.
Scrum-half Luke Gale held his nerve to slot the match-winning drop goal with just 99 seconds remaining to cap a stunning Tigers comeback – overcoming a 16-0 deficit to beat Wakefield Trinity 25-24.
But centre Jake Webster, who forced his way over for a 74th minute try which enabled Gale to level the scores, will miss Friday’s match through injury.
“Jake has a rib injury (from) lying on in the game,” said Powell. “It’s obviously disappointing, hopefully he’s not out for too long. Rib injuries can be pretty painful, so hopefully he’ll improve quickly.”
Prop Larne Patrick has had tests for a medical issue so he is missing against Salford, while forward Adam Milner (ankle) is out for up to six weeks.
Powell added: “It’s a couple of losses for us, Milner as well, they’re tough. Having a few middle men missing means the onus is going to be on our pack stepping up and doing a good job for us.
“Adam is going to be out four to six weeks, that’s not certain, we may be able to shave a bit off that – it’s a bit of a blow to lose him.
“The bonus is after next week’s game we get a breather with a week off. We’ve got quite a few big men missing, having said that we’ve still got a good team and need players to step up.”