By Oliver Roby
Venue: The Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Referee: Richard Silverwood.
Coverage: Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
Castleford (from): Webster, Shenton, Carney, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Millington, Holmes, Cook, Massey, Boyle, Moors, Moore, Solomona, Finn, McMeeken, Gibson, Bailey.
St Helens (from): Turner, Jones, Swift, Burns, Walsh, Masoe, Roby, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walmsley, Flanagan, Percival, Thompson, Richards, Greenwood, Dawson, Savelio, McDonnell.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
27/02/2015 – St Helens 21 Castleford Tigers 14 (Langtree Park).
19/09/2014 – St Helens 41 Castleford Tigers 0 (Rapid Solicitors Stadium).
22/06/2014 – St Helens 38 Castleford Tigers 16 (Langtree Park).
11/04/2014 – Castleford Tigers 28 St Helens 30 (Mend-A-Hose Jungle).
07/07/2013 – Castleford Tigers 24 St Helens 40 (Mend-A-Hose Jungle).
Thursday evening will see a clash between two of Super League’s form sides.
Hosts Castleford, who welcome back blockbusting winger Justin Carney and powerful forward Matt Cook after injury lay-offs, will be in confident mood ahead of their clash with the league leaders, having won their last three games in unerringly slick fashion.
They kicked off their run with a 56-16 rout of Wakefield at the Magic Weekend before dismantling Hull KR 22-30 away from home.
However, their most impressive win was still to come as they took on Leeds last week; defeating the Rhinos 24-31 at Headingley. Luke Gale was the tip of an impressive performance which sent out an ominous message to their top four rivals.
In the other camp, Saints have scrum-half Luke Walsh back after his ankle surgery, while Joe Greenwood and Luke Thompson also come into the squad.
This news comes in a hugely positive week for the club as they overcame fierce local rivals Wigan 30-14 to extend their winning run to five successive matches – wresting back Super League’s top spot from Leeds in the process.
With a patched-up side, Kieron Cunningham’s men produced a performance built on almost pure team spirit – a defining characteristic of the club in recent years. They will need to draw on their wealth of winning experience on Thursday to be hopeful of taking anything away from their trip to West Yorkshire.
Prediction: The clash of two confident, try-friendly sides is sure to produce a fine contest. But I feel the Tigers, backed by their typically vociferous home support, could have the edge in this one. Cas by 6.