Castleford Tigers chief Daryl Powell says Challenge Cup prep' "wasn't right"

As they look to move a step closer to a first Wembley final since 2014, Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell has admitted they got their preparation wrong last time around.

Daryl Powell leads his Castleford Tigers team out with captain Michael Shenton ahead of the 2014 Challenge Cup final against Leeds Rhinos at Wembley. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

The West Yorkshire club face Salford Red Devils in Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final at Emerald Headingley.

Castleford are favourites to progress, especially having defeated the same opponents 28-18 in Super League last Friday.

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Powell hopes to go one step further than seven years ago when - in his first full season in charge at Wheldon Road - he led Tigers to Wembley but came unstuck 23-10 against Leeds Rhinos.

Castleford have only won the Challenge Cup four times in their history, the last success coming in 1986, and it would be some way to bow out for the coach who moves to Warrington Wolves at the end of this campaign.

Asked if he would have done anything any differently in 2014, Powell said: “Leeds were pretty smart how they played against us.

“(But) we didn’t get our preparation right, to be honest.

“We stayed in a hotel right on Wembley and it was the wrong place.

Castleford Tigers' Greg Eden scores against Salford Red Devils last week but he is missing for Saturday's rematch. (Paul Currie/SWPIX)

“I didn’t have too much to do with that, so I’d definitely change that.

“I just thought Leeds played awesome.

“We had a lot of players playing in their first final and we didn’t really play as well as we’d have wanted to.

“But this is a different team with a different mindset, different qualities in there.

“We just want to get there and show what we can do, play to our potential - that’s the main thing when you get into a final.

“First and foremost we’ve got to get through this game and that’s all we are looking at.”

Captain Michael Shenton, second-row Oli Holmes - who scored at Wembley - and prop Nathan Massey are only survivors from the Castleford team in 2014 now looking to return.

They should all feature on Saturday and, though Powell has lost Cheyse Blair and Greg Eden to injury, he could have Gareth O’Brien, George Griffin, Jordan Turner and Daniel Smith back to bolster his squad.

They are all included in the 21-man squad, as is winger James Clare - for the first time this season following injury - although he is more likely to feature next week. Youngster Sam Hall drops out along with Blair and Eden.

“There’ll definitely be a different look about it [the team] and a bit of freshness about it,” Powell said, while offering insight into what it is like playing the same opponent in successive weeks.

“It’s a bit less work in terms of previewing!

“You’ve done all your work on their previous three games before you play them so you get to learn a fair bit about each other.

“It is a fair bit if work previewing a team and getting through all the video hours so from that perspective it’s a bit easier.

“I’ve played against teams a couple of times like this at different clubs and you play a different game plan from one week to the next, or you might just tweak slightly on what you’ve seen the week before.

“For us, we need to execute a little bit better in good attacking positions.

“There’s some things we are doing really well, which we want to maintain and a couple of things we want to be better at, regardless of who we are playing.”

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