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“It won’t change overnight” – Castleford Tigers boss reveals squad limitations

Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard in a black and amber club jacket.

Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard has spoken about the limitations that he has in his squad and the necessity for the club to continue their long process of rebuilding block by block.

The Tigers have had a torrid start to 2024, remaining winless in the league and being scared by Championship side Batley Bulldogs in the Challenge Cup.

Most people would agree that they’ve got one of the weakest sides in the league, and speaking to the media in the pre-match presser for their Rivals Round fixture against Leeds Rhinos, Lingard seemed to admit that it was holding the side back.

He said: “I’m not one of these coaches that is stuck in certain ways and says it’s got to be this way and we’re not budging from that.

“We know that with the group that we’ve got and the squad that we’ve got, there’s going to be certain things that I might want to do that we can’t do.

“We’ve got to make little changes and tweaks here and there. I’m very much a player person as well, getting players involved, getting their opinions about what they think is the right way forward for the group.

“Ultimately, as a coaching group, we direct and dictate which way we want the team to play. There are certain things that are non-negotiable, like a standard and what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.”

No quick fix as Castleford Tigers continue putting “building blocks” in place

Innes Senior passes the ball for Castleford Tigers, in their black and amber kit, in Super League action against Catalans Dragons, who wear white with red and yellow detailing.

Credit: Imago Images

Castleford’s signings have been more future-orientated in 2024 than in previous seasons, with young players such as Sylvester Namo, Josh Hodson and Josh Simm coming through the door at Wheldon Road, but they haven’t all hit the ground running.

Lingard revealed that he took a long-term view: “We’ve got a belief in what we’re doing here at Castleford and I’ve said previously this is a project, it’s a two, three year project and we’re not expecting overnight success.

“We’ve got to make sure that these building blocks that we’re trying to put in place, that we’re rigid on these building blocks. These building blocks don’t change, there’s some non-negotiables in these building blocks that have got to be put in place and it takes a little bit of time sometimes to embed those building blocks in place.”

The club has suffered some poor finishes over the past few years, notably just about avoiding relegation last season, and Lingard noted that the club needs changes to take place.

“Some of the stuff that we’re trying to do and some of the standards that we’re trying to get in there have not been up for quite a few years. So we know it’s not going to change overnight, we know it’s not going to be an immediate impact, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re sort of steadfast in what we’re doing and we’ve got that belief that what we’re doing is right.

“We’re not expecting to have immediate impact and immediate change but we’ve got to have belief in what we’re doing is the right thing and firmly stick to our guns with that.”

Castleford Tigers take on Leeds Rhinos on Thursday, 28 March at 8pm, live on Sky Sports and free on SuperLeague+ as part of Rivals Round.

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