Castleford Tigers cannot rely on Wigan Warriors hangover, warns Lee Radford
Matt Peet's side snatched the trophy from Huddersfield Giants' grasp last Saturday thanks to Liam Marshall's dramatic late try.
The celebrations continued into this week, leaving Wigan with little time to prepare for tomorrow's trip to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
But Radford is expecting a typically competitive and committed performance from the Warriors.
"They're a solid, consistent side and are this year's Challenge Cup winners," said Radford.
"Rightly so as well - I thought their performance against St Helens was phenomenal. They're always tough opposition to come up against.
"They have depth in their squad and don't let games get away from them. That's always something I've admired about them as a team and a club."
Radford twice found himself in Wigan's position during his time in charge of Hull FC after guiding the club to Challenge Cup glory in 2016 and 2017.
Those experiences have reinforced his view that Wigan will find a way to challenge his Castleford side.
"We turned up to both games drunk but actually went alright," joked Radford.
"We got beat on both occasions but we had a go considering we were fresh out of the pub."
While the Warriors are out to avoid a Challenge Cup hangover, Castleford have concerns of their own with Radford down to his last fit 21 players.
The likes of Niall Evalds and Jordan Turner remain sidelined through injury, while Jake Mamo has been allowed to return to Australia on compassionate grounds.
But Radford is confident he will get a performance from his side on Castleford's Channel 4 debut.
“You know it’s a struggle when the list of injured players is almost as long as the lads who are fit," he said.
“We’ll have a strong 17 on Saturday. These aren’t ready-made excuses. It’s just a fact that we’ve got 21 blokes available.
“If those blokes all aim up and perform like they can do, we’ll give these blokes a real good run for their money.”
The Tigers occupy a play-off position at the halfway stage of the season after overcoming a slow start but Radford believes Castleford are only scratching the surface.
"I feel there's an awful lot more to come from us and the quicker that comes the better," he added.
"There's more in the tank than what we've given in the first half of the season."