Sheffield Eagles

Aston expecting tough encounter against Barrow

15th March 2018, 18:55

Aston expecting tough encounter against Barrow

Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby, Mark Aston, says Sunday’s Challenge Cup match with Barrow Raiders will be a physical battle at Craven Park.

The Eagles are without a win in the Betfred Championship and they will be striving to turn their fortunes around when they face the Raiders, firstly in the cup before visiting them for a league fixture next week.

Aston knows the conditions that will greet his troops in Cumbria this weekend.

“They (Barrow) know how to play the game on their field. It’s heavy, it’s muddy and that’s how they like it,” he said.

“They have drawn against Toronto on a pitch that wouldn’t have suited them, we played Toronto on a pitch which definitely suited.

“And they have beaten Leigh so there’s two massive performances there. Leigh haven’t been great but they still take some beating.

“We need to kick-start our season, we need to get focused on next week and the Easter period as well as the games after that.

“There’s a couple of games coming up that we certainly need to be winning.”

The Eagles have been reliant on the dual-registration partnership with St Helens but Aston will be receiving no help on that front for the cup tie.

With Simon Brown signing on the dotted line and another player to be announced tomorrow, the club will be hoping they can field at least one of their new recruits.

“Every week is important for us but this week is going to be more difficult as there’s going to be no dual-registration so people are going to have to stand up,” he added.

“We’re hoping Ben Blackmore will be back, Tooley was back the other day and then we’ve got Daniel Igbinedion who can add something to us.”

Barrow have kept hold of most of their promotion heroes from last season, after inching past Whitehaven in the playoff final.

Aston admitted there is talent in the Raiders camp, as shown by their early season form.

“They have quality players in there, let’s not kid ourselves,” said Aston.

“Nathan Mossop is a good hooker, Ryan Fieldhouse knows what the game is about.

“Joe Bullock started his career at Wigan and now he’s a big lump of a boy at prop. Glenn Riley has been at Warrington.

“They have good players in there and they’ll be looking at us and saying ‘we can kick-start our season over the next two weeks as well’.”

By Dan Fowler, photo by Simon Hall