Second-row Matt Cook admits his side’s game at Salford Red Devils is “must-win” if they are to keep alive their slender hopes of making the top-four.
Knocked out of the Challenge Cup after Saturday’s poor quarter-final defeat at Wigan Warriors, Castleford are sixth in Super League but already nine points adrift of the leading quartet who make up the semi-finalists after 30 rounds.
With 11 games to go, they have lost three successive matches, too, and former Bradford Bulls and Hull KR forward Cook said: “I think Salford is pretty much a must-win game.
“In all aspects in terms of getting things back on the positive. We’ve had a couple of losses now on the bounce and need to get some wins to keep us secure in the top-eight and then to start clawing back some points to keep in touching distance with that top-four.”
Cook, 29, added: “Salford have been like us I suppose through the season – a bit hit and miss.
“But they’re a very good side and it’s one-all between us so far this year.
“They beat us in the league here, which hurt us pride-wise.
“We beat them in the Challenge Cup, but that’s gone now and they still have the two points.
“We know it’s going to be a big, tough game, but we need to win, get the two points and do a job.”
Cook, meanwhile, has proved a valuable signing for Castleford head coach Powell in his second campaign since moving back north from London.
He has played 19 games so far, mainly from the bench, and with his high work-rate, energy and industry, has shown to be an astute capture although he is still, unusually, awaiting his first try of the campaign.
“I’ve only missed two this season and that was with a harsh ban,” said the player, who is contracted until the end of 2017.
“It’s nice to be playing week in, week out and I’m pretty happy. I’m a bit like the team; I need a little more consistency but probably feel I’ve started to find that in the last couple of weeks.”
Castleford are without the prolific winger Denny Solomona but Paddy Flynn returns.