Headache as Aston given short notice

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UNCERTAINTY over the availability of dual-registration players is giving Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston selection headaches.

Aston has four players on the season-long loan deals – two each from Bradford Bulls and Huddersfield Giants.

None of the four were available for the games against Widnes Vikings and he’s only confident of having Bulls’ centre Jason Crookes in his squad for the trip to York City Knights on Thursday.

“It’s disappointing that we haven’t had our dual-registration players because that is impacting on us,” said Aston. “When you are playing against good teams, you need the best squad to choose from.”

Under the deals, the parent club can call back a player at any time and often Aston has to wait until only a day or so before a game to know if an individual is available.

He is hoping that half-back Kyle Wood will be released by Huddersfield for the York game with Dane McDonald, who played at stand-off against Widnes, a major doubt with an ankle injury.

His other two dual-registration players are not likely to be available. Jamie Cording played for the Giants in the Super League at the weekend and Bulls’ Vinny Finigan is out injured.

Aston’s options for the York game will be boosted by the return from suspension of centre Menzie Yere.

New signing Quentin Laulu-Togagae will also have had a couple of training sessions with his new team after making his debut in the 44-16 defeat by Widnes only 48 hours after arriving from Australia.

York have signed half-back Benn Hardcastle, who joined the Eagles at the start of the season but was released without playing a game because of travelling problems.