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Eagles have to focus on themselves ahead of Bulls clash, says Aston


Sheffield Eagles need to “focus on themselves” ahead of the Betfred Championship opener against Bradford Bulls this weekend.

That is the message from Director of Rugby Mark Aston, who will be looking for a positive response from his side after defeat to York City Knights in the Challenge Cup a fortnight ago.

Aston is happy with how his team, helped by a nice balance of youth and experience, are shaping up for the first league match of 2021.

"We have got a lot of youth in our squad, that brings with it enthusiasm and commitment,” he said.

“We have to be really good (against Bradford), there are no qualms about that, and we have been good in training. 

“We have changed things up a bit (in training), we are expressing ourselves and we want to go out there and have a go at teams rather than us worrying about them. 

“We have to focus on ourselves and I’m excited about the new players that have come in and the squad we have put together.

“I’m sure we can challenge and compete against anyone.”

Three experienced omissions from the team that faced York were Scott Wheeldon, Frankie Mariano and James Davey. 

Mariano and Wheeldon will both miss Sunday’s clash against the Bulls, while Davey is in the 21-man squad again. 

Aston addressed this, saying: "The decision was down to me to not play James against York as I thought Greg Burns and Robbie Ward had outstanding pre-seasons so they justifiably got the nod,”

“James is ready to go.

“Frankie has had a few issues with work and certain different things so we gave a chance to a few others, but he has been training well. 

“Scott Wheeldon has had a bit of a tweak on his groin, he is a week or two away so won’t quite make it this weekend.

“We’re aiming for round two as we’re not going to push him for the Bradford game. 

“He has been running around so we’re going to wait until he gets up to full pace as we need him to be right.” 

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman