Sheffield Eagles’ coach Mark Aston has been left with only one chance to ‘blow the rust’ out of his squad before the new season.
The pre-season game at York City Knights has taken on a new importance after strikes by air traffic controllers forced the cancellation of last weekend’s trip to France.
Aston will give priority to the players he expects will make his first choice 17 for the season opener against Rochdale on the club’s return to Owlerton Stadium later this month.
“It’s a different game now,” he said. “We need to get some of the rust out of the players who will start the season. The emphasis will be on getting them ready and looking where they are.
“Not as many of the youngsters will play but I still want to give a chance to a few I need to have a look at.”
Sunday’s game at York – a testimonial for Eagles hooker Andrew Henderson – will be the first chance for new signings Ben Jones and Jack Blagbrough - and on-loan forward Matty Hadden can make a case for a longer deal.
Aston added: “Losing the chance of a training camp and the game against Limoux was a blow but the lads have been positive in training.
“The first game at Owlerton is important – it’s 30 years since the club was started there. We need to hit the ground running and win that first game against Rochdale.”