Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has his shopping list of players he wants to strengthen the squad for next year.
After a season when the defending champions have lacked consistency he’s ready to bring in fresh faces when the signings watershed passes next week.
“We have to make sure we get the right people in and we’re working on that now,” he said. “We know the areas where we need to strengthen – the front row, we need another hooker and a bit more cover in the outside backs as well.
“Some people will be leaving, Andrew Henderson is retiring and every year people leave and new people come in. Some will be disappointed and will be moving on to the next chapter in their career.
“There’s going to be a few new faces which is good because we have to freshen a few things up and this is the time to do it.”
The impact new players can have is being highlighted by Kyle Briggs following his signing from Featherstone Rovers last month.
Since Briggs switched to stand-off the Eagles have won the last four games and climbed to fifth place.
With two league games left, starting at Briggs’ former club on Sunday, they should ensure a home tie in the first round of the play-offs.
Centre Menzie Yere agreed a new deal last week and offers have gone out to those current squad members who are out of contract and Aston wants to keep. “We are getting there now and Menzie is the first of many we will keep at the club,” he said. “There are plenty of new people out there and some will be coming in but they can’t be signed until after September 1.”
Aston will be targeting players proven at Championship level. He added: “We lost influential players before this season – Jack Howieson, Alex Szostak, Tom Armstrong, Joe Hirst, Liam Higgins. Massive holes in the squad and how do you replace them? You can but there’s not a lot of those type of players out there. It is going to get even harder because the people coming out of Super League are young boys who have been playing at u19’s competition. It’s a challenge for them coming into the Championship.”