THOUSANDS of Castleford Tigers supporters lined the town’s streets yesterday to wave the club off on their way to Wembley.
Daryl Powell’s squad were stunned by the sights in front of them as they pulled out of Wheldon Road ready for the trip south ahead of Saturday’s Challenge Cup final with Leeds Rhinos.
It is their first such final since 1992 and Castleford’s hopes were given a boost with news that Craig Huby is fit enough to take his place in the 19-man squad.
The in-form prop was named just 11 days after dislocating his elbow in the semi-final victory over Widnes Vikings.
Many initially thought he had little chance of being fit for the Wembley showpiece, but the 28 year-old has trained this week and is expected to play if he comes through this afternoon’s final ‘Captain’s Run’ at the stadium with no reaction.
There had been some speculation that James Clare, the young winger who has deputised well for the suspended Justin Carney, could force his way in perhaps at the expense of Kirk Dixon.
However, Powell has omitted Clare from his 19-man squad and the main debate will surround his bench where hookers Jamie Ellis and Adam Milner will presumably vie for one spot.
Ellis has played in every round and was key in that win over Widnes.
Also, if Huby is declared fit, the Castleford chief will have to decide between Frankie Mariano, Garreth Carvell – who missed last Friday’s game at Warrington with a slight knee strain – and Scott Wheeldon for his final forward replacement.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott had, unusually, already named his 17 on Monday for the club’s fourth final in five years. Yesterday he confirmed the other two members of his squad, in case of injury or illness before kick-off, as second-rows Stevie Ward and Mitch Achurch.
Castleford Tigers’ 19-man squad: Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Hauraki, Massey, Wheeldon, Mariano, Finn, Clark, Holmes, Jewitt, Carvell, Ellis.