After a superb 2017 season - in which Castleford [VIDEO]finished top for the first time in their 92-year history and reached their maiden Grand Final - Castleford's [VIDEO]recruitment going into 2018 should have resembled that of a team fighting for silverware. Instead, the Tigers brought in seven players, three of whom had never played a top flight game before (Cory Aston, Mitch Clark and Garry Lo [VIDEO]) with only Joe Wardle having nailed down a first-team spot in his previous foray in Super League.

James Clare, Jamie Ellis and James Green were Castleford's three other signings, but with the influential Zak Hardaker [VIDEO] no longer at the club, many of the Castleford faithful were worried that their club's recruitment looked more like that of a side battling to avoid the bottom four rather than one trying to make the top four.

Daryl Powell's recruitment has been, on the whole, fantastic in the past - just look at how the likes of Paul McShane, Greg Minikin, Luke Gale [VIDEO]and Mike McMeeken have excelled under Powell's tutelage. But, very few Castleford fans believed that Powell's recruitment ahead of 2018 was what the team needed to progress. And, for that, the Tigers are now suffering the consequences.

Winger situation

Castleford already had wingers Greg Eden, Greg Minikin and Jy Hitchcox at the club before they added James Clare and Garry Lo into the mix. It is remarkable that Aussie Hitchcox is included on the overseas quota, yet Powell does not seem to rate him at all - otherwise why would he have been sent to Bradford on loan? Garry Lo was included on the non-federation quota, until he left the Tigers last week due to him assisting a police inquiry.

Lo played just one game for Castleford despite impressing in the Championship with Sheffield and at last year's World Cup with PNG.

A coach can't plan for injuries, but both Eden and Clare will be out for the foreseeable future. Powell took a gamble on Lo - the club even paid for his flight back from the World Cup - and it has backfired, whilst bringing in Clare did not improve what Castleford already had. After a seeming abundance of wingers, the club has had just one fit winger in the past month at the club - the decision to send Hitchcox on-loan to Bradford, in hindsight, was disastrous.

In recent weeks, captain Michael Shenton has had to fill in on the wing with second-rower Joe Wardle taking his centre position. If Hitchcox and Clare are leaving at the end of their contracts - which run out at the end of 2018 - then Powell needs to think long and hard about who will be the third winger at the club - something which he clearly failed to do before the season began.

Half-back issue

Tom Holmes left the club at the end of 2017 looking for regular first-team Rugby with Cory Aston and Jamie Ellis brought in to replace him.

Ellis has so far been steady in the games he has played, but Aston has been nowhere near the first-team. With Ben Roberts' injury problems well-documented, the decision not to bring in an accomplished third-choice half is biting Powell on the backside. Ellis cannot control games like Luke Gale is able to do and so with the latter's injury, the Tigers appeared heavily disjointed against Hull despite Paul McShane once more standing out in the half-back role.

With Ben Roberts coming into the latter stages of his career - he is 32 - Castleford need to invest in a half-back that can have the same impact that Gale has had since joining from Bradford. Whilst Ellis is a good half-back to partner either Roberts or Gale, he cannot be relied upon to take the game by the scruff of the neck when neither Roberts or Gale are playing.

Investment in the backs

Castleford's forwards are amongst the best in the competition; Junior Moors, Grant Millington, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Matt Cook, Mike McMeeken and Liam Watts would strike fear into the heart of any rival team. When the Tigers took to the field against Hull however, beset with injuries, the three-quarter line read like this: Jake Trueman, Greg Minikin, Alex Foster, Joe Wardle, Michael Shenton. When Trueman left the field early in the first-half through injury, youngster Calum Turner moved to the wing with Shenton going full-back.

Powell's reluctance to throw in Tuoyo Egodo for his first start this season as well as his refusal to play Turner at his preferred position of full-back is concerning. If these players are not deemed ready or good enough yet by Powell then somewhere down the line, Powell needs to bring in players that are. The Tigers have currently dropped down to fifth in the table and it appears as though fresh blood is desperately needed for the club to keep pace with the top three sides.