Castleford boss Daryl Powell ready for Warrington Super League clash

Daryl Powell
Daryl Powell

The battle for a top four spot in Betfred Super League intensifies on Friday night when third-placed Warrington host Castleford, the team breathing down their neck.

Victory for the Tigers at the Halliwell Jones Stadium would enable them to draw level with Steve Price's Challenge Cup semi-finalists but defeat would see them four points adrift.

The Wolves are on the double trail after turning their fortunes around under their new coach whereas Daryl Powell's men are struggling to match their consistency of 2017.

A thumping of Leeds at the Magic Weekend was followed by a dismal home defeat by St Helens before Castleford returned to winning ways with a resounding win over Hull KR in a rearranged league fixture last Friday.

"We're looking to build some consistency," said Powell, whose side have already lost at home to Warrington this season.

"It's going to be a tough game, they're pretty physical, they dominated Wigan last week.

"They are defending with an edge to them at the moment."

The Wolves have a host of players in a rich vein of form and Powell is especially wary of the talent of former Castleford hooker Daryl Clark, who has recaptured the form that earned him the 2014 Man of Steel and looks likely to win him an England recall.

"Some of the players that probably didn't have the best of years in 2017 are playing well and Daryl Clark is back to his 2014 form," Powell said.

Warrington have lost just one of their last 13 matches in all competitions but half-back Dec Patton, who this week signed a two-year contract extension, says they are acutely aware of the dangers presented by last year's table-toppers.

"I think we know from last season what a good team they are," Patton said.

"They throw the ball about and play a good style of rugby. They're a good team all around the park and we need to match the display we showed against Wigan.

"They've got a game in hand but a win would put us four points ahead of them. We've just got to keep chipping away."

Huddersfield will cope with the absence of seasoned half-back Danny Brough by turning to an understudy 16 years his junior.

Oliver Russell, the 19-year-old son of former Wigan hooker Richard Russell, has just one Super League appearance under his belt but new head coach Simon Woolford is confident he can help fill the void created by the loss of Brough, who starts a three-match ban when the Giants take on Leeds at Headingley.

"We have had Oliver in training with us," said Woolford. "Oliver made his debut a couple of weeks ago and was man of the match in a win.

"I think the style of football we play really suits Oliver. He's got a good left-foot kicking game.

"I watched him last weekend for the academy, when it was clear he's a really good talker."

In Friday's other games, leaders St Helens host struggling Hull KR and Salford will seek to end a five-match losing run when they visit Hull.

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