Aston: Donny will push us + Eagles injury update
Sheffield Eagles will be pushed by Doncaster in their opening pre-season friendly of 2020, according to Mark Aston.
With the South Yorkshire Cup on the line, both teams will be looking for a positive performance as their respective campaigns draw closer.
Aston has been impressed with the recruitment done by Dons coach Richard Horne, who has also kept hold of some key players ahead of their League 1 promotion push.
“Donny will be pushing us, just like they did last year (in the 1895 Cup),” Aston commented.
“They have RangI Chase playing for them, who was a Super League Man of Steel winner a few seasons ago.
"They have a tough pack with Ryan Boyle in there and they have also signed more experience in Graeme Horne, to go with their youth.
“One of our kids from the scholarship - Kieran Cross - went there and improved.
“Pre-season and the friendlies are exciting times, as I can actually enjoy it and see where we are at and where they are at.”
With a trip to Keighley Cougars coming up after the Doncaster tie, Aston has highlighted the importance of these games in helping the squad get prepared for competitive action.
He is also looking forward to having a full-strength side at his disposal, although that is still a few months away due to the complex injuries suffered by Matt James and James Glover.
"We have two games, back-to-back, to get us into a position where we can perform against Halifax on February 2nd,” said Aston.
“The nice thing about that is we’ll have Brad Knowles back, who will be fresh and ready to go after his suspension.
"Scott Wheeldon might make the friendlies, but if he doesn’t then he should be alright for the first game.
“Jamesey (Matt James) is back at the hospital this week to see if he needs the screw taking out.
"He probably won’t make the start of the season but hopefully he won’t be too far off.
“James Glover is running around and he said to me this week that he’ll be back in April. I said: “great, get on with it!”.
“If he’s back in April, 11 months after the horrendous injury he had, he’s a credit to himself, the club and his friends and family.”
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman