SHEFFIELD Eagles hope to start edging away from the pack in the Championship with a win over Dewsbury Rams tonight.
It’s the first of two crucial home games against teams chasing Halifax at the top of the table as the season nears it’s mid-point.
Tonight’s game is followed by the visit of Batley Bulldogs to Bramall Lane next Friday evening.
“Seven games into the season it’s a tough competition – even Featherstone have had a couple of big defeats,” said coach Mark Aston.
“There’s not many teams you can count on getting a win against and Dewsbury will be tough.
“We ground out a win at York on a muddy pitch but at Bramall Lane hopefully it’ll be dry and there’s space for us to play an expansive game.”
Aston will have Alex Szostak back after the second row forward completed a two-match ban.
Dane McDonald is also pushing a return after recovering from a rib injury and the ending of his suspension. The Australian’s ability to play at half-back or in the forwards could earn him a place on the bench.
Dewsbury have shown a big improvement this season with coach Warren Jowett bringing in a couple of exciting players on dual registration from Super League clubs.
Former Eagles hooker Crag Cook joined from Toulouse but is an injury doubt for tonight’s game.
Aston said: “Dewsbury always play it hard. We had good results against them last season but they have strengthened the squad.
“We got the win we needed at York after a couple of disappointing results, we need to keep doing the simple things well and keep the momentum going.”
Playing at Bramall Lane will provide a major contrast from last season’s fixture at Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill, because the Lane and Don Valley were unavailable. It is thought to be the first time a professional rugby league game had been staged at a private school.