Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston will be looking to his senior players for a response in tomorrow’s Championship clash with Bradford Bulls.
Aston was critical of his experienced operators in the recent defeat at Dewsbury, as his young team were outfought at the Tetley’s Stadium.
He has already promised to give opportunities to young wingers Ryan Millar and Garry Lo this weekend, should the latter get the all clear to play following a dislocated shoulder.
But the Eagles chief is aware that every up and coming side requires a sprinkling of experience, and he has called upon his squad’s older heads to help guide his young guns through a tough spell for the club.
“Some of the players at Dewsbury let themselves down, and they let me down - I need these lads to be good,” Aston told The Star.
“We have been relying too heavily on our kids to get us out of trouble. I still feel we have enough senior professionals out there to resolve some of the issues that we have.
“We showed what we can do against Leigh. We have shown we can perform in the bigger games, but we need to start performing consistently, week in, week out.
“We need to show mental toughness.
“We have Ryan Millar waiting in the wings, but we won’t be missing these type of guys too much longer.
“Ben Blackmore will miss some games now, so these lads will get their opportunities because they are our future.”
Last season the Eagles were comprehensively beaten at Odsal Stadium in both the league and Super 8 Qualifier fixtures, and Bradford are unbeaten on home soil so far this season.
Aston’s side will take some solace in knowing that they beat James Lowes’ Bulls at home last season, and Aston will know that Bradford have also stuttered in recent their recent outings.
Bradford recorded back-to-back league draws with Leigh Centurions, followed up by a Challenge Cup fourth-round exit at the hands of Dewsbury.
After a narrow victory over London Broncos, the West Yorkshire outfit suffered a shock 14-10 defeat to Halifax on Easter Monday.