Sheffield Eagles return to league action against Halifax tonight in a high stakes game for both clubs.
Championship leaders Fax have stumbled in recent weeks winning only one game in the last four including a defeat by the Eagles in the Challenge Cup.
A win for the Eagles at Bramall Lane tonight, kick-off 7.30pm, would cut the four-point gap between the clubs at the top of the table.
“Halifax will have a point to prove, from being high fliers they’ve had their wings clipped,” said coach Mark Aston. “We’ve beaten them and Dewsbury put them out of the Northern Rail which they held.
“They will be deflated but that always makes a team dangerous. We have raised the bar, set our standards and must do that again.
“Against Barrow with ball in hand we did that and defensively for 65 minutes were outstanding and they only scored with a couple of errors. I’m happy where we’re at, Halifax are top of the league and are there to be knocked off.”
Aston believes the chance of being in the team for the Challenge Cup game against London Broncos is an incentive for his players.
“Everybody wants to be in, there’s a lot of competition for places but those in charge are there because they are playing well.”
Prop forward Ben Gledhill has been passed fit to play after being knocked out in the 64-10 win over Barrow. His loan from Salford Reds has been extended for another month.
Winger Misi Taulapapa has recovered from an ankle injury but young prop Colton Roche is out with wrist ligament damage.
Forwards Peter Green, Eddie Battye and Dario Esposito are vying to replace Roche on the bench. Liam Higgins is still out but may return at Hunslet next Wednesday.
Halifax will have playmaker Scott Murrell back. The former Hull KR man’s absence was seen as a major blow for Fax in the Challenge Cup.
Aston added: “Good. I don’t want people saying he didn’t play or did play. I hope he’s back and it’s something we’ve touched on in team talks.”
As tonight’s game is at Bramall Lane season ticket holders must exchange voucher number seven for a bar coded ticket at the office on Cherry Street. Individual tickets can also be bought. Entry to the ground is through the turnstiles on John Street.
*Bramall Lane’s wider pitch will provide the ideal stage for Sheffield Eagles leading try-scorers against Halifax.
Centre Menzie Yere has claimed 20 tries this season and fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae is close behind on 15 after breaking the club’s individual scoring record with 35 last year.
“It’s a wider pitch and we love to play entertaining rugby, we throw the ball about, we challenge the players to make the right decisions,” said coach Mark Aston. “We play fast, entertaining rugby.”