Eagles set to add another String’ to their prop bow

Mitch Stringer
Mitch Stringer
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There’s something missing from Sheffield Eagles’ make up - and coach Mark Aston knows what it is.

Successfully negotiating the fourth round of the Challenge Cup against Oldham made it five straight wins, but the performances haven’t matched his expectations.

That means the signal is going out to call back into action club captain and Batman aficionado Mitch Stringer after a long injury lay-off.

The prop, who has a colourful tattoo of the Caped Crusader characters on his right arm, has been part of the Eagles’ DNA for nearly 300 games.

And Aston believes he will drive the team forward.

“Batman returns - we need Mitch out on that field because of his talk (to the team) and his presence in a game,” said Aston.

“He’s been very important to this club and we need a fit Mitch on that field to glue that team together.”

The call up will come against Hunslet Hawks at the Keepmoat on Sunday (kick-off 4.15pm) - the first of three league games in nine days.

Aston took the opportunity against Oldham to look at his options in the squad. It saw a delayed debut for former Bradford Bulls forward Jamie Langley, with new signing from Hull KR Keal Carlile and reserve Greg Burns sharing the hooking duties.

In a pedestrian Eagles’ performance, tries from Menzie Yere, Scott Turner, Michael Knowles, Duane Straugheir and Quentin Laulu-Togagae - plus five goals from Pat Walker - gave a 30-6 lead at half-time.

Rob Worrincy and two tries from Steve Thorpe kept them ahead, but Oldham had the better of the second half with the final score 44-20.

“I didn’t learn a lot,” said Aston.

“But I did learn that there are people not playing to their potential.

“There will be some hard work this week and some people taken out at the weekend. We were sloppy and that second half won’t frighten anyone.”

Eagles are protecting third place in the Championship and Aston will draw on his squad resources for the Hunslet and Doncaster games [Wednesday April 1] before the tough trip to Featherstone on Easter Monday.

“We are getting people back,” Aston added.

“I’ll use everybody in the squad to come out of that Monday game with something. We’ve got to know our best 17 players.”

In the fifth round of the Challenge Cup, the Eagles have a home draw to Super League Hull FC - who won the trophy last in 2005.

The Eagles will hope the Black and Whites’ travelling support will boost the gate at the Keepmoat.

The clubs met in the Cup in 2003 and 2007, at the KC Stadium, with Hull winning both games - 88-0 and 44-6 respectively.