Tigers set to be tested
23rd March 2013
Castleford's slender resources will be put to the test when the Tigers embark on a spell of four games in just 13 days, starting with tomorrow's visit to Hull KR.
The Tigers, who began the season with back-to-back fixtures against each of the 2012 Grand Finalists, have the smallest squad in Super League but face the biggest challenge of all over the Easter period.
Tomorrow's game is followed by a Good Friday derby with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats before Cas go to St Helens on Easter Monday and then host leaders Huddersfield Giants four days later.
"It's a tough ask, particularly with the size of the squad we've got," said assistant coach Stuart Donlan. "We are just going to have to take it game by game.
"We've prepared well for this game and we'll look at Wakefield next week and we'll see how we come out of that before we move on to Easter Monday.
"A win on Sunday would be a good way to start this tough period that we've got."
Castleford borrowed Warrington Wolves half-back Gareth O'Brien earlier this year after losing Rangi Chase to suspension but are not counting on being able to bring in loan players during the busy Easter period.
"At this time of year no club will be willing to give us any players so we'll go with the squad we've got," Donlan said.
"We're lucky enough that the majority of players who haven't been in our top 17 each week have been been playing on a dual registration at Keighley and we've a couple at Dewsbury and we've kept tabs on them.
"We're lucky at the minute that we've got a healthy squad and, after this game, Justin Carney is back from his suspension."
Castleford hooker Daryl Clark, who has figured in all of his side's seven matches so far this year, is aiming to maintain his ever-present record over the next fortnight.
"That's what we've been dealt and we'll just have to work round it," he said.
"We've got our physios keeping on top of things and they'll manage us through the games. Hopefully I'll be out there for the four games."
Hull KR have an injury doubt over their influential captain and scrum-half Michael Dobson and Donlan admits his absence would be a timely boost as the Tigers look for their first win in six matches.
"Obviously it would be a plus for us if he didn't play because he's a key organiser," said Donlan.
"Everything goes through Michael. Some of his stats we've looked up this week are quite unbelievable, he's had the most kicks in Super League by a long way.
"It would be a bit of a help to us but we're preparing as if he is going to play."
Meanwhile, Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield will make another attempt to play their round-eight fixture tomorrow after it was snowed off on Friday.
The rescheduling means an especially short turnaround for the Rhinos, who are next in action on Thursday night with a televised derby against Bradford Bulls.