Wakeifeld Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar hopes last weekend’s snowed-off Leeds Rhinos clash can work in his side’s favour at Castleford Tigers tonight (kick-off 8pm).
Agar was keen for the game against the Rhinos to go ahead last Friday - it fell victim to the heavy snowfall and is yet to be rearranged - but says a weekend without a match has helped his side’s preparations for the highly-anticipated derby duel.
“While undoubtedly we’d have liked the game to be played on Friday, I think the fact that we didn’t play the game on the Sunday has no doubt aided our preparation into the game against Castleford,” he said.
“We’ve been able to get over one or two little bumps and knocks and we’ve had a full week of preparation which we’re very thankful for.
“I’d say that would probably outweigh the fact we didn’t actually play last weekend but time will tell and we’ll see on Friday night whether that bit of freshness and that extra preparation has helped us.”
Tigers fell to a slender defeat at Hull KR on Sunday night, the first of four games in 14 days for Ian Millward’s men.
Wakefield have been able to welcome back captain Danny Kirmond, half-back Tim Smith and prop Andy Raleigh to their squad, while Justin Poore and Ali Lauitiiti are also included after missing Wildcats’ last match at St Helens.
They will be hoping to guide Wakefield to a first win in five Super League matches - and a third on the spin at Castleford - while Tigers are without a win in six.
But Agar believes Castleford are a better team than their place in the table suggests and has prepared his men to face an improving outfit.
“I’m not really looking at that six without a win,” he said.
“I’m looking at a team that I think the position they’re in at the moment doesn’t really tell the whole story.
“I think they can draw some parallels with us and maybe draw some parallels with us how we went last year, they’ve got a new team. They’ve changed their style, certainly offensively they’ve changed their style this year which is going to take some time in 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 higher-ranked teams, Castleford have had an extremely tough fixture list to contend with at the start of the year.
“Within that I think their home form, probably London apart, has been good. They got a draw with Catalans, were very unlucky and a put in a very good performance against Wigan and they beat Leeds.
“Like ourselves they’ve had an off day and they’ll probably look to the London game as the one the got away on the back of a poor 40 minute showing.
“They’ve been very competitive, I think they will develop and get better as the season goes on and they’ve had a very tough fixture list.
“Within the squad they’ve got some brilliant individual players and some very strong players as well; so we know what sort of threat they’re going to pose. I’m a real believer that they’ll get better and challenge as the year goes on.”