SHEFFIELD Eagles face a battle against time to prepare for their Championship Play-off semi-final at Leigh Centurions.
Playing Halifax on Sunday has left the Eagles with only two training and rehab sessions ahead of the trip to the Sports Village on Thursday.
Leigh have had a full week to prepare following their defeat by Featherstone Rovers in the first elimination semi. At stake is a ticket to face Rovers in the Grand Final next month with a £100,000 winner’s prize.
Eagles’ boss Mark Aston believes the spirit his players showed in beating Halifax 50-12 in the last round will cancel out the short turnaround between games. “There will be bumps and bruises but it’s a semi-final and it’s on Sky – nothing will stop the lads playing,” he said.
“We’ve got a smile on our face, towards the end of the Halifax game we had the luxury of bringing people like Jack Howieson and Andrew Henderson off. Most of the forwards had a spell off the field and there was only Alex Szostak of the pack who played the full 80 minutes.”
The squad came through the game without problems although prop Mitch Stringer is nursing a shoulder injury to add to a long-term knee problem.
Centre Menzie Yere will also be available for the trip to Leigh after the end of his two-match suspension. A concern for Eagles will be the way the team’s success in the play-offs has failed to ignite interest in the city.
A crowd of 1,233 – boosted by a big travelling support – for last Sunday’s game at Bramall Lane was disappointing. Aston said: “All we can do is keep working hard on developing the game and the fan base – but we got the result and we’re in the semi-final.”