CASTLEFORD Tigers coach Daryl Powell is ready for a Wigan Warriors backlash tonight.
His side head to the DW Stadium having vanquished Wigan 42-14 at Wheldon Road just two months ago.
Deflated Warriors chief Shaun Wane described that defeat as the worst moment of his entire coaching career.
They have lost just two of their nine games since and inflicted a 60-0 defeat on visiting Hull KR a week ago having also kept Catalans Dragons pointless at the DW with a 34-0 success.
“They will be pretty fired up thinking about the game early in the season and Shaun Wane’s comments afterwards,” admitted Powell, whose side can close to within a point of their hosts in third if victorious.
“They will be after us and it promises to be a really spicy game. It’ll certainly be a tough match.
“Wigan are playing outstandingly well and in their last couple of games they’ve scored over 100 points so they will be pretty confident.
“We’ve just got to go, play well and challenge them. We’ve been faced with a few challenges already and dealt with them OK.
“Going there is always difficult, but we know if we get our performance right we can really challenge Wigan.”
They did just that when winning there 16-4 in last season’s Challenge Cup quarter-final on the way to Wembley, having also defeated them in the 2014 home league match.
Castleford lost their opening three games this season but have now suffered defeat just once in five outings despite a plethora of injury problems.
They have seen experienced Scott Moore pull out tonight after the ex-England hooker revealed he played all of Sunday’s win over Catalans Dragons with a broken foot.
However, fellow rake Adam Milner returns from suspension and Powell also sees Jake Webster, Ben Roberts, Scott Wheeldon, Junior Moors and Lee Jewitt back in the reckoning.
Tigers, who rest loose forward Nathan Massey, have generally performed well considering such previous large lacerations to their squad.
The coach added: “Bits of our game have been inconsistent.
“With the ball we’ve been looking pretty good.
“Against Salford we were pretty sharp at times and we were at times against Catalans last week, too.
“We scored 30-odd points and created more opportunities, so we are going okay.
“We are looking to improve a bit defensively, but we have had changes all the time.
“It’s individual players’ consistency that will help us at the moment, but I think we’ve done a great job to be where we are.
“We lost the first three games, but we’ve won seven out of the last 10 and that’s a great effort from the players, they’ve done marvellously well.
“There will be a few changes on Friday as some of the players are a little bit busted but we’re relishing the chance to go there again.”