Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says Jordan Cox needs to follow the lead of team mate Mark Mexico if he is to force his way into contention.
Both have been restricted to minor appearance, with Mexico serving a four-match suspension, whilst Cox has struggled to hit peak fitness after a close-season hit by injury.
Mexico has used his time off productively, with Aston confirming the 27-year-old has shed several pounds in a bid to come back in top shape.
Now Aston has challenged Cox to follow the example: “Jordan is quite a bit away at the moment,” said Aston.
“He needs to look at Mark Mexico. He has got his head down and he is training really tough. He has certainly dropped some weight, that’s what Jordan needs to do now.”
Cox joined Eagles during the close season after leaving Super League Warrington, but a knee operation delayed his preparations.
A back problem has further derailed his progress after he made his debut in the opening day defeat to Oldham.
Now Aston has called on the former Hull KR second rower to show some mental toughness as he looks to get one of his star attractions back to full fitness.
“He needs to get his head around it, get on with training and he’ll get his rewards,” Aston added.
“He had a bit of a back injury recently, so he needs a thorough two or three week blast, which he didn’t have in pre-season, to get him something like he needs to be. It is about the mentality, at this moment in time he is not where I want him to be.
“It is not the physical, it is the mental strength that I am looking for. Jordan’s back problem is something else which hasn’t helped, but he just has to get through it. He has to go through the pain barrier to get where he wants, and if he does that he’ll be massive asset for us, if he doesn’t he won’t.”