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Super League: Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers preview
Warrington Wolves will aim to set aside their Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final heartache when they welcome Castleford Tigers to the Halliwell Jones Stadium for a Friday night showdown.
Both sides return to Super League action after experiencing contrasting emotions in the knockout competition last weekend, with Warrington bowing to Leeds Rhinos while Castleford booked their place in an all-Yorkshire Wembley final by seeing off the challenge of Widnes Vikings.
This round 24 fixture could have been a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup final, as it is, Warrington are now fully-focused on league matters and will draw level with the fourth-placed Tigers with victory on Friday.
With next Saturday’s Challenge Cup showpiece event in mind, Tigers coach Daryl Powell has opted to rotate a number of players but believes Castleford’s strength in depth will shine through.
"It comes down to trusting your squad and the players that you've signed," said Powell, whose side are just two points behind leaders St Helens. "We've shown this year that we can compete with anybody.
"I looked at the squad the last time we played Warrington here at Easter and we rested quite a lot of players. The guys who came in delivered and we were superb that day.
"I don't see it as a major problem to be honest. Obviously we've got to fight on both fronts but I also think you've got to be sensible in your team selections.”
Just 10 players from the team that beat Widnes 28-6 in Sunday's semi-final are named in Powell's 19-man squad, with prop Craig Huby forced out with a dislocated elbow while a number of players are being kept back for Wembley.
Captain Michael Shenton, leading scorer Marc Sneyd, hooker Daryl Clark and full-back Luke Dorn, who was man of the match against the Vikings, will all sit out as Under 19 forwards Brad Day and Will Maher get their first call-ups.
Former Leeds second rower Weller Hauraki is back from suspension and there are recalls for Michael Channing, Adam Milner, Ashley Gibson and Jordan Tansey.
Meanwhile, Wolves coach Tony Smith has made just one change to the side, bringing in second rower James Laithwaite in place of wing Gene Ormsby as he sets his sights on a third successive Grand Final appearance to offset the disappointment of their Cup exit.
Smith believes his Wolves side will not have been deterred by their 24-16 defeat to the Rhinos, instead, the Australian expects an emphatic response on home soil.
Warrington squad: Asotasi, Atkins, C. Bridge, England, R. Evans, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Laithwaite, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, Myler, O'Brien, Ratchford, Russell, Waterhouse, Westwood, Wood
Castleford squad: Tansey, Lynch, Milner, Hauraki, Massey, Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Gibson, Channing, Clare, Finn, Reynolds, Day, Jewitt, Carvell, Maher, Howden
Watch Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers live on Sky Sports 1HD on Friday from 7:30pm
First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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