CASTLEFORD Tigers head coach Daryl Powell believes there is no better time to finally end their barren streak in Perpignan.
The West Yorkshire club have not won at the home of Catalans Dragons in any of their last seven trips to the south of France.
Indeed, the last time they did so was as far back as March 2010 when Castleford prospered 20-16 under Terry Matterson, the Australian coach who also lost a finger during a training ground accident there earlier that year.
However, Catalans have seen their form diminish in the second half of this season, last week’s 14-10 success at Wakefield only their second win in 10 outings.
Tigers are eyeing their fifth spot, too, and will get to within one point of that with one more game to go if they can find a positive result this evening.
Powell, whose squad will fly in and out of France today, said: “Catalans are a good side, a big physical side and generally what’s happened is we beat them at home and they beat us away.
“That’s the way it’s been since I’ve been at the club and we need to flip that and be outstanding.
“They are a bit of a different animal in France; they started this season winning games consistently over here on their travels but the back half of the season they have dropped off a bit and lost a few games at home too.
“So, we need to add to that which is always tough as they are physically challenging.”
Fortunately, to meet that aspect of the game, Powell is able to call upon four returning forwards to freshen up his pack after last week’s loss at St Helens.
Andre Savelio, who could not play then due to the terms of his loan agreement from Saints, Oli Holmes (illness), former Catalans prop Gadwin Springer and Mike McMeeken, the giant second-row making his return from a broken leg, are all included in his 19-man squad that travels.
They have lost back-row Junior Moors to a season-ending injury and half-back Rangi Chase to a one-game suspension but Powell remains upbeat.
“As ever it’s a mixed bag and we still have a lot of very good players sat on their backsides injured but there’s a little bit of positivity there for us,” he said.
All eyes will be on Denny Solomona, too, Castleford’s prolific winger who is closing in on yet more records.
Having already broken the Super League record for most hat-tricks in a season with six, the Kiwi is now nearing the most tries scored in a regular Super League season.
He has touched down 35 times in 2016, just one short of Lesley Vainikolo’s total of 36, set back in 2004.
Three tries will also see Solomona equal the overall seasonal Super League record shared by Bradford Bulls’ Vainikolo and Leeds Rhinos’ Danny McGuire, who each finished the 2004 campaign on 38 tries after that year’s play-offs and Grand Final.
Furthermore, the 22-year-old requires just three to equal his club’s seasonal record, set by the late St John Ellis in 1993-94.
Ex-Great Britain winger Ellis touched down 40 times in 41 games for Castleford in that campaign while Solomona has scored 37 tries in just 27 so far this year.