Payback spurs on Mark Aston as Sheffield Eagles eye top spot

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AFTER a Bank Holiday weekend away in France it’s back to the day job for Sheffield Eagles with a vengeance tonight.

They can open the second half of the season by going top of the Championship with a win at Leigh Centurions – who are just one place and one point behind them.

The Eagles feel they will be taking back the three points Leigh gained in a controversial 34-32 win at Don Valley last month.

“We’re still spitting a bit about that because we had a try disallowed and Leigh got a penalty goal in the last minute that won them the game,” said Aston.

“We have a point to prove and the game will be played on a nice surface and a wide pitch, which will suit us.

“It’s about us and playing football and we did that on Sunday in Carcassone with a changed team.”

Aston is able to call back an army of experienced forwards who didn’t make the trip for the 40-12 Anglo-French Challenge win over Carcassone.

“The boys who were rested and didn’t go to France will come back into the squad,” said Aston. “Captain Jack (Howieson) and Hendo (Andrew Henderson) will be back - Joe Hirst, Peter Green, Dane McDonald, Michael Knowles, will certainly be in the 17.”

The extra weekend off has been a bonus for influential second rower Knowles who has been nursing a knee injury and utility man Dane McDonald’s sprained ankle. Aston used his regular backs sparingly in Carcassone.

He added: “Quentin Laulu-Togagae played 30 minutes, Misi Taulapapa only 50 and I changed people about. I took Simon Brown and Dom Brambani off for spells. The wingers played all game as did Menzie Yere but the lads should be pretty fresh.”