Half-back remains Eagles’ big target

Mark Aston (right)
Mark Aston (right)
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Adding an experienced half-back is right at the top of Mark Aston’s New Year wishlist as he looks to put the finishing touches to his pre-season recruitment drive.

After completing the majority of his close season shopping spree early, the Eagles director of rugby has been forced to bide his time before adding the final additions to his new look squad.

With 10 players already through the door, Aston is content with what he has at his disposal but he was been frustrated in recent weeks as he looks to add an experienced half-back to compete with a glut of younger faces, in what is set to be a competitive position in the Eagles’ ranks.

With the 2016 Kingstone Press Championship season now just over a month away, Aston still remains confident that he will add at least two more new faces before their curtain raiser against Workington Town on February 7.

“I am still looking for one or two to add to what we have,” Aston told The Star.

“We have some irons in the fire and if they come off then we will be done. There is no doubt that we are still looking, albeit we are very happy with the group that we have here.

“Everyone is always looking for half-backs aren’t they?

“We have young Dave Hewitt really impressing in pre-season, as is Cory (Aston), but we could do with an old head around them.”

Aston’s close season recruitment has been centred around youth, with seven of the 10 newcomers 25 or younger.

With a more experienced operator expected to finish the club’s close season business, Aston is confident that he has the balance just right.

“We are running at 22 at the moment so ideally I would like a couple more to make it 24,” he continued.

“There is a significant youth element to that, but there is good experience in that squad with the likes of Steve Thorpe, Mitch Stringer, Michael Knowles, Matt James and Scott Wheeldon to help the younger lads and develop them.

“We are still looking for another half-back to add to the squad which will help nurture and help develop these young players. We certainly have irons in fires regards to that.”

The Eagles will take on fellow Championship side Dewsbury Rams this Sunday 10th January in their first pre-season friendly. Kick off at The Tetley’s Stadium is 3pm.