21st April 2019, 12:33 | Castleford

McShane expects difficult Perpignan test

McShane expects difficult Perpignan test

Hooker Paul McShane knows a tough challenge awaits Castleford Tigers when they travel to Perpignan to take on Catalans Dragons on Monday.

The influential playmaker makes a timely return for the second game of the Easter schedule after completing a three-match ban.

The Tigers sit third in the Betfred Super League table but McShane is well aware that they face a difficult test at Stade Gilbert Brutus, where they lost 44-16 in 2018.

"It’s a really tough place to go," he said. "The fans really get behind them.

"They’ve beaten Saints and Warrington out there who have been head and shoulders above everyone else this year so they will have a lot of confidence in their ability.

"As a playing group, we know we’re not at the standard we want to be, but to be sitting in the top four at the minute, we’re not doing too bad of a job."

The second game of the Easter period could feature as many as nine Super League debutants as the busy schedule tests clubs’ squad depths.

Wigan Warriors coach Adrian Lam, who has called up youngsters Harry Smith and Amir Bourouh for the first time for the trip to Salford Red Devils, defends the demanding schedule.

“I’m a big fan,” he said. “It’s been around for a long time. As a player here, it was probably one of the highlights of the season for me.

“It tests the depth of the club and we’re certainly getting tested at the moment.”

Other potential Super League debutants on Monday are Lewis Peachey (Castleford), Jon Luke Kirby (Huddersfield Giants), Sam Davis (London Broncos), Jack Croft and Lee Kershaw (Wakefield Trinity) and Callum McLelland and Owen Trout (Leeds Rhinos).

Huddersfield are aiming for an 18th successive win over bottom club London Broncos, whose last victory at the John Smith’s Stadium was in 2003.

Elsewhere, leaders St Helens host fourth-placed Hull FC, Warrington Wolves go to Hull KR and Wakefield host Leeds.