Sheffield Eagles: Mark Aston looks to the past as his side prepare for semi-final against Batley

Sheffield Eagles' Mark Mexico. Picture: Andrew Roe
Sheffield Eagles' Mark Mexico. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Sheffield Eagles will be using their previous encounters with Batley as added motivation for tomorrow’s crunch Championship Shield semi-final (3pm).

The Eagles have been beaten in all three encounters between the two sides this season, and will go into tomorrow’s clash at Mount Pleasant as underdogs.

Director of rugby Mark Aston has seen his side take two heavy defeats in the regular league campaign, and admitted he aims to make amends for their previous shortcomings by taking his side to the Shield final for the second consecutive season.

“It is something we have spoken about and I’ve put it into the presentation to the players,” he told That Star.

“We have been embarrassed by them in some of the games this season. Sometimes you get a chance to put it right, that is certainly the focal point this weekend. We let 50 odd points in at home, and 70 away. That was poor, so let’s have a response and let’s get our heads down because we are better than that.”

Should the season close tomorrow, it will mark the end for some members of Aston’s flock.

Versatile operator Elliot Minchella has confirmed he will be joining Bradford next season, whilst star man Garry Lo has joined Castleford.

There are also reports circulating that Scott Wheeldon is set for Championship rivals Featherstone, but for the time being Aston is fully focused on plotting the Eagles pathway to the Shield final.

The Eagles chief believes last weekend’s defeat will have no bearing on tomorrow’s outcome, with both sides expected to make changes to their side.

The Eagles look set to bring back the likes of Lo and Matty James, whilst Wheeldon is available despite his recent sending off.

Mark Mexico is a doubt after aggravating an elbow problem, but Aston is closely monitoring the fitness of forward Will Hope who is training again after recovering from a leg injury.

“Will is working hard,” Aston confirmed.

“He trained at the start of the week. He has been back running now over the last couple of weeks, so he has given himself a chance of playing. We will see how he has reacted to a week on the training ground and then make a decision. He has been a rock for the group this season. It has been tough but he has been great for me and one of our better performers.”