Castleford are set to escape the British weather with a pre-season trip to the south of France.
The Tigers senior squad head off to Perpignan tomorrow with coach Terry Matterson looking forward to being able to get some outdoor ‘ball in hand’ training with the players, having been hindered by the recent adverse weather conditions in the UK.
Two days of training will be followed by a match against the Catalans Dragons on Saturday with the French outfit expected to field a strong squad. Although travelling and training, four of the Tigers squad aren’t ready for match action, with Kirk Dixon (calf injury), Brent Sherwin (foot), Richard Owen (foot) and Brett Ferres (knee) still not 100% fit, so there won’t be the scope for subs on the scale of the Boxing Day match.
Matterson said: “With the season drawing close I am looking more to the likely team for the ‘kick off’, although I am hoping that there won’t be too many players still not available by the time we face Leeds.
“The Bradford game was a good opportunity to take a look at some of the emerging players, which was valuable to me, and those guys will get their chance in the game at York on Sunday. But things are becoming more focused now and for this game against the Dragons and our clash later in the month with Huddersfield I plan to play as strong a line up as possible.
“Catalans are putting out a good side, with only a couple of their likely regulars missing, so we will face a big test but that’s exactly what we want. It wouldn’t serve any real purpose at this stage to face lesser opposition and win comfortably.
“And as well as that, the trip does provide an opportunity to gel together. We haven’t made too many changes this time but aside from training and a couple of the away trips, the guys don’t get too many opportunities to be together as a squad, so this is a good team building exercise. We are all looking for a change of scene, some quality training and a good game, all of which can only be beneficial to us as we prepare for the Super League kick off.”