Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell is relishing a home tie in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round as his side prepares to face Championship outfit Sheffield Eagles at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday (3.30pm).
The Tigers head into the tie on the back of two wins over the Easter period – a 43-20 derby win at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats followed by an impressive 40-6 win over Warrington Wolves on Monday.
Despite being happy with the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals through a home tie, Powell is equally cautious of a dangerous-looking Sheffield, and can call on first-hand experience of the Eagles from his time coaching in the second tier.
“We were looking for a favourable draw,” said Powell. “This is a good one because we’re at home.
“I was involved in the Championship for a while and saw just how strong Sheffield are. They have been for a number of years – when you look at the outside backs they have some really good players there, and we have to be aware of that. It will certainly be tough, that’s for sure.
“You know they’ll be well prepared. We’ve got to make sure we’re on our game because obviously upsets can happen, and they do happen.
“But there’s some real confidence running through us at the moment and we feel like we can challenge everyone. We feel like we’ve got a good chance this year in the Challenge Cup and we want to do well.
“It’s a fantastic tournament which Castleford, as a club, have a great history in, so we really want to go out and do well this year.”
Powell is no stranger to a Cup upset. He was the architect of Featherstone Rovers’s 23-16 win against Castleford in the fourth round of the 2012 Challenge Cup and believes this will help guard against any complacency by his own Castleford team.
“Obviously coaching in that win against Castleford has made me well aware of the possibility of an upset,” said Powell.
“I’ll be making sure the players are exceptionally well prepared too. Some teams might underestimate lower opposition but we won’t do that.
“It is a one-off game and anything can happen – if they go out and play exceptionally well they can put us under some pressure, but we will be fully focussed on Sunday.”
Tickets for the Castleford Tigers v Sheffield Eagles Tetley’s Challenge Cup tie at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday (3.30pm) can be purchased from as little as £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for under-16s.
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from as little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk