James Webster says the Wildcats go into Sunday’s derby as big underdogs but is confident his side will perform.
Captain Danny Kirmond heads a list of absentees that includes Richard Mathers, Nick Scruton, Dean Collis and Matt Ryan as Trinity travel to the Mend-a-Hose Jungle to face a Tigers side still hunting the league leaders shield after their Challenge Cup final disappointment.
The Tigers have comfortably swept aside the Wildcats in the two previous meetings in 2014 and know a win will send them into the last weekend with a chance of finishing a fantastic campaign top of the pile.
Webster insists his side head into the game under no pressure but is confident his injury hit side will put in a good showing.
“There’s no pressure on us,” Webster declared. “We’re going with an under strength team so they’re well and truly favourites to win this game. They’re not second by any fluke and they’ve got a chance to be league leaders this year because they’ve played well.
“They’ve got a massive squad that’s been relatively fit for most of the season. Obviously the bookies will be making them heavy favourites but that’s happened to us plenty of times this season. We’ve gone into games as underdogs and got a result. We’re confident we can go there and play well but we know we need to go and play really well to get the result.”
It will be Webster’s first derby as head coach having experienced the previous eight as an assistant as he approaches the end of his third season at the club.
Other than the final game of 2013 that was decided by Liam Kay’s last minute try, one side has been the dominant force in often one-sided encounters.
With plenty on the game for the Tigers, Webster is expecting a bumper crowd for the occasion.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us but an exciting game. I’ve been disappointed in the crowds Wakefield and Castleford have attracted over the last few years. I think they’ve been relatively poor given the interest in the game around here.
“I think it will be close to full this week. I love going to Cas, it’s a great ground. I think players love going to Castleford in that it’s so close and the atmosphere a full house at Castleford can generate is second-to-none, in my opinion. We’ve got players excited for the challenge this week.
“They’re a good team, they deserve to be where they are and we’re looking forward to it.”
At the time of writing, tickets for the game remain on sale from the Ridings Centre store and will go off sale at 5pm today (subject to availability). Tickets will also be available on the gate priced at £19 for adults and £11 concessions/juniors. Junior swaps will be available from the Tigers ticket office at the stadium.