Sheffield Eagles are battling to get playmaker Patch Walker fit for Friday’s play-off clash with Halifax.
Walker is a major doubt after suffering ankle ligament damage in the opening minutes of the defeat at Featherstone Rovers that cost the Eagles the league leaders shield.
The injury to Walker, who has played 31 games this season, has come at a critical time and leaves the Eagles without experienced cover at half-back.
Teenager Cory Aston, son of coach Mark, is the next in line for the stand-off role but has played only four senior games.
The 18-year-old came through a tough 80 minutes in his first start in the 34-20 loss at Doncaster and is backed by the coach to handle the pressure of the play-offs. “I have every confidence in him,” said Aston senior. “The disappointing thing is we started Cory (at Doncaster) but nobody supported him.”
A win over Halifax at Don Valley would earn a place in the semi-finals and a week’s rest but defeat would condemn the Eagles to an extra sudden-death round next week.