Richard Agar hopes a full week’s preparation can give his side the edge in tonight’s Good Friday derby against Castleford Tigers.
Whilst the Tigers battled it out at a bitterly cold MS3 Craven Park against Hull KR last Sunday evening, the Wildcats were left to rue the clash with Leeds Rhinos being postponed twice within three days due to the cold weather.
That meant that the Wildcats could go straight into this week with their minds fully focussed on taking on the Tigers and Agar hopes that can prove beneficial to his team come 8pm.
“I like to think last weekend off, whilst we undoubtedly would have wanted the game to get on, the fact we didn’t play on Sunday has no doubt aided our preparation into the game against Castleford. We’ve been able to get over one or two bumps and knocks and we’ve had a full weeks prep which we’re very thankful for.
“I’d say that would probably outweigh the fact we didn’t play last weekend but time will tell. We’ll see on Friday night if that freshness and extra preparation has helped us.
“We trained indoors on Monday but the volunteers have done a remarkable job really and the pitch has come out in good shape. It’s firmed it up a little bit so we’ve managed to get on the field two or three times this week and had a normal preparation.”
Agar was set to welcome back both Justin Poore and Ali Lauitiiti last weekend, and that senior duo will be joined by captain Danny Kirmond, Tim Smith and Andy Raleigh in the 19-man squad.
With a fully fit squad to choose from, the Wildcats go into the game hoping to make it three successive wins in the local derby, and condemn Castleford to a seventh game without a win.
However, Agar is wary of the quality that Ian Millward’s team have and believes their league position belies their performances so far in 2013.
“I’m not really looking at the six without a win. I’m looking at a team that the position they’re in doesn’t really tell the real story. I think you can draw some parallels with us and how we went last year.
“They’ve got some new players and they’ve changed their style which is going to take some time getting used to. I also think they’ve probably had a tougher draw than anyone else out of the teams that are battling for the eight rather than the very top teams and I think Castleford have had an extremely tough fixture list to contend with.
“Within that, London apart, their home form has been good. They got a draw with Catalan, were very unlucky against Wigan and they beat Leeds. Again, like ourselves, they’ve had the odd off day. They’ve been very competitive and I think they will develop and get better as the season goes on. Within their squad they’ve got some brilliant individual players and some strong players as well. We know what sort of threat they’re going to pose and I’m a real believer that they’ll get better and the be challenging as the year goes on.”
It is sure to be another fantastic Good Friday atmosphere as the clubs lock horns for the first time in 2013 and Agar says it is a match that everyone looks forward to.
“We always look forward to these games. They’re special games and the passion that the crowd brings to these occasions, and that emotion, does make them good occasions to play in and the players really do look forward to it.”
Tickets for tonight’s games are no longer available from the Wildcats but can be purchased on the gate.
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