Castleford Tigers have suffered a triple injury blow ahead of their bid to end the season on a high with a win over local rivals Wakefield Wildcats on Sunday.
With the score standing at one-all in the first two matches between the clubs Sunday’s game at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium will decide which fans get the bragging rights for 2013.
And with just one point separating the sides the game will also decide which team will finish highest in Super League this year with a possible ninth place up for grabs for the winners.
But both face problems with off field financial matters dogging Wakefield once again and the Tigers having to go into the game without their captain, Michael Shenton, as well as top try scorer Justin Carney and fellow Australian Grant Millington.
They have added to an injury list that already included Oliver Holmes, Jake Webster, Jonathan Walker and Lee Gilmour, forcing head coach Daryl Powell to take a young squad with him over to Wakefield.
Powell told the Express: “Michael Shenton needs an operation after he hyper extended his knee (against Salford). It’s disappointing for him as he’s been in great form.
“Justin Carney also needs an operation after dislocating his shoulder and Grant Millington has an ankle injury that needs operating on so there’s three key players who will be missing.
“It makes life tough for us, but it gives an opportunity to some young players to show what they’ve got.
“That’s the way it is in rugby league. You have some tough times with injuries and ours have come quite late. We’ve had Olly Holmes as well who’s had an operation. But we just get on with it.
“James Clare and Richard Owen will come back into contention in the outside backs. We’ve lost a centre and a winger so we’ll have to reshuffle things a little bit.
“I thought Ben Reynolds did pretty well on his debut and he will stay in the squad. Dan Fleming will stay in and Charlie Martin will come into contention.
“There’s going to be a lot of young players out there, but thankfully it’s the last game of the season and it’s not going to impact on us too much.
“We need to find one more big effort and it’s an important game for us. We need to win this game to finish higher than 12th.
“We’ve got the potential to finish from ninth to 12th and we are one game away from achieving something pretty good I think. Obviously you want to finish in the top eight, but if you can’t then you want to be as high as you can.”