Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers: Preview

Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers

Castleford will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Super League table when they travel to Wigan on Thursday night.

Daryl Powell’s side picked up their sixth win of the campaign by thrashing the Huddersfield Giants 52-16 last time out, with Luke Gale and Joel Monaghan both scoring second-half hat-tricks.

The Tigers have been one of the most exciting teams so far, scoring an impressive 281 points in just seven games, and go into this week’s clash full of confidence against the current champions.

With stats as impressive as that, they will pose a real threat to a Wigan side who have struggled in recent weeks.

The Warriors have suffered two successive defeats, with the latest coming at Headingley last week, as the Leeds Rhinos ran out 26-18 winners.

Wigan had won their opening three Super League games, as well as lifting the World Club Challenge title after defeating the Cronulla Sharks.

However, injuries to key players has seen Shaun Wane’s side slip from first to fifth in the table, and they will be desperate to  get back to winning ways against the Tigers at the DW Stadium.

Castleford have been boosted by the return from injury of young utility back Greg Minikin, after he missed the last two games through injury.

Minkin has been in fine form this season, scoring nine tries in Castleford’s opening five games, including a hat-trick in their victory over the Leeds Rhinos.

He replaces Grant Millington in the only change to the Tigers’ 19-man squad.

Wigan have been a dealt a major blow after centre Oliver Gildart  was ruled out for up to three months with a serious back injury.

Gildart sustained the injury after a tackle from Leeds’ Brett Ferres and he joins the likes of Sam Tomkins and Dom Manfredi on the sidelines.

Youngster Joe Bretherton comes into the 19-man squad to replace him, while Liam Farrell and Anthony Gelling retain their places despite not playing in last week’s defeat to the Rhinos.

Coach Shaun Wane has also confirmed that Sean O’Loughlin, Joe Burgess, Micky McIlorum and Lewis Tierney are all nearing a return to the first team, though Jake Shorrocks has suffered a setback with a knee injury.

Thursday’s Super League showdown promises to be an intriguing affair as Castleford will be looking to make a statement of intent at the home of the champions.

Wigan will not give up without a fight, but with the likes of Oliver Gildart missing and the fire power that Castleford currently possess, the Tigers could prove to be too hot for the Warriors to handle.

Wigan squad: Bretherton, Clubb, Davies, Escaré, Farrell, Flower, Forsyth, Gelling, Gregson, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarrete, Nuuausala, Powell, Sutton, Tautai, Tomkins, Williams.

Castleford squad: Chase, Cook, Eden, Gale, Hardaker, Holmes, Lynch, Massey, McShane, McMeeken, Minikin, Milner, Monaghan, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.

Prediction: Wigan 18-26 Castleford