Powell looks to extend Leeds misery
Former Leeds Rhinos favourite Daryl Powell will be aiming to pile on the agony for his old club tonight when he takes his Castleford Tigers side to Headingley.
The champions are reeling from four straight defeats and the loss of England internationals Kallum Watkins and Danny McGuire to injury but Powell, who was in the last Leeds team to win the Challenge Cup and went on to coach them, has little sympathy for their current plight.
The Tigers are looking to complete a first Super League double over their big-city neighbours following their 14-12 triumph at Wheldon Road in February and Powell believes his players will also have derived confidence from the three competitive matches under which he has presided.
"It's a big challenge for us obviously," Powell said. "Leeds have got a few people missing but they've got a deep squad.
"But I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's a great opportunity for us. We're not far off in games at the moment. We're not playing at our best consistently but we're certainly in the battle every single week.
"There's some confidence there. We've played them twice this year - we've beaten them once and run them close in the Cup - so there's not much in terms of the games that have been played this year.
"It's about taking another step. I do believe there is a genuine confidence that we can go there and win."
Castleford have pulled away from the foot of the table after taking three points from their last two games, against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and London Broncos, and Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield expects them to continue their improvement under his old team-mate.
"It doesn't surprise me to see him make a difference," said Sinfield, who was appointed Leeds captain by Powell in 2003.
"I really enjoyed playing alongside him and I got the opportunity to work with him with England in 2011 and to see how much he had progressed and improved as a coach was fantastic."
In tonight's other games, leaders Wigan Warriors look to prove they can win without Sam Tomkins when they go to Widnes Vikings while second-placed Huddersfield Giants play their second game in five days when they take on Hull KR at Craven Park.