Lynch talks up Clark
Daryl Clark has the ability to become the world's leading hooker, according to his Castleford Tigers front-row colleague Andy Lynch.
Clark, who was promoted to the full England training squad last month, underlined his growing stature with a man-of-the-match performance, highlighted by a hat-trick of tries, in the Tigers' impressive win at Widnes Vikings a week ago which kept them on course for a first-ever top four finish in First Utility Super League.
And the 20-year-old is sure to be in the thick of the action when Castleford take on last year's league leaders Huddersfield Giants at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle on Friday night.
"He's unbelievable," said Lynch. "He's massive for us. He probably won the game for us last weekend single-handedly.
"For me he's the form hooker in Super League and I think he's got a great shot of playing for England at the end of the year.
"He's a great talent and he's still young so he's got plenty of time to learn and he'll get even better as he gets older. He can be the world's leading hooker if he keeps on going the way he is. Nobody will be able to touch him."
Lynch will be hoping his side can stay on course for the league and cup double when they host one of their top-four rivals.
Just four points separate the top six clubs and Castleford could go top with a win over the sixth-placed Giants if Leeds Rhinos, who are at home to Hull KR on Friday night, and St Helens, who host Bradford Bulls, slip up again.
The shocks continued last weekend, with the Rhinos going down to Wakefield, Huddersfield losing to Salford Red Devils and leaders St Helens being hammered at Hull KR, and Lynch is looking for his side to take advantage.
"Last week worked in our favour really well," he said. "All the teams around us that should have won lost and it puts us within two points of the top.
"This is a massive game. There are two points between us and Huddersfield and we need to win to get that four-point gap between us."
Huddersfield, who pipped the Tigers 29-28 earlier in the season, go into the game without skipper Danny Brough, experienced full-back Scott Grix and utility forward David Faiumu, with coach Paul Anderson replacing them with a trio of teenagers.
"This week's a good challenge all round, with some of the people that are not there," said Anderson, who is confident his side can cope without their inspirational captain, who is the reigning Man of Steel, by pairing up Kyle Wood and Luke Robinson at half-back.
"I'm confident we can play without him," he said. "We've got some good players in Woody and Robbo to play in the halves. You have to adapt, don't you?
"Kruise Leeming and Jackie Miller will come into the 19 and Jackie's a Cas lad as well so he's definitely going to be fired up for it.
"It's backs to the wall for us. They will be red-hot favourites with the people we have out."
Castleford coach Daryl Powell is refusing to take any confidence from his opponents' injury woes, however.
"They've got a pretty deep squad with plenty of quality players," Powell said. "They were league leaders last year and they've won nine out of their last 11 games.
"It's about us really and getting back to our standards consistently. When we've played well this year, we've been a match for anybody."
Hull KR caretaker-coach Chris Chester will be hoping his side can follow up their 40-10 win over Saints in his first match in charge when they take on Leeds at Headingley.
The Robins triumphed 16-12 in the corresponding fixture last season but the Rhinos will have a trio of former England internationals back from injury, including hooker Rob Burrow who has been out since April with a broken collarbone.
In Friday's other game, St Helens will be looking to bounce back when they host relegation-haunted Bradford, who have lost their last four matches.
The game will be a reunion for Bulls winger Jamie Foster and stand-off Lee Gaskell, who both left their home-town club in 2012.
"I am really looking forward to the game as I have not been back since I left," said Gaskell.
"I have friends and family still living over there, who will be watching, so, hopefully, we can go and get a result."