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Betfred Championship EVOGO

Mark Aston previews tough Barrow trip


With the Betfred Championship season starting in less than 24 hours, Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston is looking forward to his side’s opening fixture away at Barrow Raiders.

The Raiders were promoted to the second tier as League 1 champions and have a few eye-catching names in their squad, none more so than maverick playmaker Jarrod Sammut.

Aston has been impressed by his own players’ work ethic during pre-season and despite there being no friendlies, he says the squad are ready to go. 

“They are going to be tough,” he commented on the Raiders.

“They have invested heavily into the team with the likes of Sammut and Miloudi, the Walne brothers and Gary Wheeler.

“There is the travel to take into account, the pitch will be heavy and they have just been promoted too so they want to get their season off to a winning start. 

“We know how tough it’ll be but we know how tough it has been this pre-season, working flat out. We’re mentally and physically prepared and they are looking forward to it. 

“The first seven rounds are away from home, we know it’ll be tough with the trips to Workington and Whitehaven within those fixtures too. 

“What we have got to do is focus on ourselves, focus on that game against Barrow and then Bradford and Batley.

“We’ll focus game-by-game and I’ve been asked whether I’m worried about the lack of pre-season games. 

“It has been tough fitting some in and also some teams have been dealing with COVID cases over the winter. 

“Is it better not having them? We won’t be making any excuses. For the first game, we’ll be hardened and ready for it.” 

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman