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7th June 2018, 10:32 | Castleford

Castleford visit Warrington as top-four race hots up

Castleford visit Warrington as top-four race hots up

The battle for a top-four spot in Betfred Super League intensifies on Friday night when third-placed Warrington Wolves host Castleford Tigers.

Victory for the Tigers at the Halliwell Jones Stadium would enable them to draw level with Steve Price's Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finalists, but defeat would see them four points adrift.

Daryl Powell's men followed their Dacia Magic Weekend win over Leeds Rhinos with a home defeat by St Helens.

They returned to winning ways with a victory over Hull KR last Friday, and Powell said: "We're looking to build some consistency.

"It's going to be a tough game, they're pretty physical, they dominated Wigan last week. They are defending with an edge to them at the moment."

The Wolves have a host of players in a rich vein of form and Powell is especially wary of the talent of former Castleford hooker Daryl Clark, who has recaptured the form that earned him the 2014 Man of Steel.

"Some of the players that probably didn't have the best of years in 2017 are playing well, and Daryl Clark is back to his 2014 form," Powell added.

Warrington have lost just one of their last 13 matches in all competitions but half-back Declan Patton, who this week signed a two-year contract extension, says they are acutely aware of the dangers presented by Castleford.

"I think we know from last season what a good team they are," Patton said.

"They throw the ball about and play a good style of rugby. They're a good team all around the park and we need to match the display we showed against Wigan.

"They've got a game in hand but a win would put us four points ahead of them. We've just got to keep chipping away."

Huddersfield Giants will cope with the absence of seasoned half-back Danny Brough by turning to an understudy 16 years his junior.

Oliver Russell, the 19-year-old son of former Wigan hooker Richard Russell, has just one Super League appearance under his belt but new head coach Simon Woolford is confident he can help fill the void when the Giants take on Leeds at Headingley.

"We have had Oliver in training with us," said Woolford. "He made his debut a couple of weeks ago and was man of the match in a win.

"I think the style of football we play really suits Oliver. He's got a good left-foot kicking game.

"I watched him last weekend for the academy, when it was clear he's a really good talker."

In Friday's other games, leaders St Helens host Hull KR and Salford Red Devils visit Hull FC.