Rugby League - Powell not taking Broncos lightly

Castleford coach Daryl Powell believes his high-flying team are facing a "dangerous" assignment as they look to get back to winning ways at the expense of struggling London Broncos.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Powell not taking Broncos lightly

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Luke Dorn is one of three former London Broncos players in the Castleford team

The short-turnaround suits Powell as his players get the chance to quickly right the wrongs of Sunday's first Super League defeat of the season at Salford in Thursday's televised fixture at Barnet.

The Broncos are the only team in the competition without a win and have conceded 281 points in their six matches so far, but Powell reckons they are an improving side.

"I think it's a dangerous one," he said. "They have had a couple of extra days' rest and you can see they're getting better.

"They have some smart players. We're not going to be taking them lightly.

"I've seen a little bit of them. They're tough and physical and they look pretty fit.

"They'll see it as an opportunity for them and we've got to make sure they don't get that opportunity.

"It's about us going and performing and making a statement that what's happened previously is not just going to drop off the end of a cliff because we've lost a game.

"We're quite pleased to have a short turnaround based on what we delivered last weekend.

"Whether it's fair or not, it's something that's in front of us so there is no point complaining about it. We're going to have to do it a few times this season."

Thursday's game will mean a reunion for Castleford's former London centre Michael Channing, who is close friends with the half a dozen players who survived last year's cul in the capital.

The 21-year-old Guildford-born Channing was disappointed to discover that he was not certain to be part of coach Tony Rea's plans for 2014 but has not looked back since making the move to Yorkshire.

"I was off contract and mid-way through the season Tony Rea said he wasn't sure whether he wanted to re-sign me," the Wales international explained.

"I got in contact with my agent and I got some interest from other clubs. I didn't really know anything about the north, apart from the fact that they play rugby league there and it was a massive change because all my friends and family are down south but I'm definitely glad I did it."

Channing, who has moved to Leeds, still has a soft spot for the relegation-threatened Londoners and is expecting them to improve as their new-look team begin to gel.

"It's a bit a shame how things are going for them at the moment but all the younger boys have the privilege of playing Super League week in week out which can only make them stronger," said Channing, an ever-present with the Tigers so far this year.

"It will be tough to avoid relegation but they've definitely got talent. It's quite a new team and soon those combinations will start connecting and things will start going their way."

One of Channing's close friends, Mike Bishay, is hoping for a recall for the Broncos, along with another academy product Jon Wallace, while Castleford winger James Clare is in line to make his first appearance in places of Richard Owen.

Powell is also considering giving a debut to 19-year-old Brad Day, who has been called up following the loss of Jake Webster with a groin injury.

Two other Castleford players, full-back Luke Dorn and prop Scott Wheeldon, will also face their former club while team-mates Ryan Boyle and Ashley Gibson will continue their return from injury by playing for the reserves of Championship One partnership club York.

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