Rugby League: Sheffield Eagles given a welcome boost

Sheffield Eagles' Elliot Minchella is back and available for Mark AstonSheffield Eagles' Elliot Minchella is back and available for Mark Aston
Sheffield Eagles' Elliot Minchella is back and available for Mark Aston
Sheffield Eagles are expected to have three key players available for their Championship Shield semi-final against Batley Bulldogs on Sunday.

Director of rugby Mark Aston looks set to receive a huge boost, with forward Will Hope resuming full training, whilst experienced prop Scott Wheeldon looks to have avoided any further punishment after his red card last weekend.

Versatile operator Elliot Minchella is also available after recovering from a knee problem, whilst skipper Matty James and star man Garry Lo are back after being rested for last weekend’s defeat.

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“They (James and Lo) will all be back in contention,” Aston confirmed to The Star.

“The likes of Elliot Minchella and Will Hope will have a good chance too.

“We are confident that we will get a few players back which will freshen it up, and those who are back in contention will have benefited from the break. That should give us some impetus for this semi-final.

“There was no way that Scott Wheeldon should have been sent off,” added Aston.

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“We haven’t heard anything yet regarding a ban, so we are treating that as he has got no case to answer. As far as I’m concerned that means he is playing, so that is great news.

“I thought that the decision was bizarre after he was hit before on the play the prior to the incident, there were a few words exchanged, and then a touch of heads. I was shocked with the decision.

“Scott is tough but he is not a dirty player.

“He is hard but he doesn’t do that kind of stuff.

“We are delighted there has been nothing back. He will be playing because there has been nothing from the authorities to suggest otherwise.”

Whilst there is good news on a number of fronts, Aston will be keeping a close eye on Mark Mexico who again aggravated a troublesome elbow problem which has blighted him in recent weeks.

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“Mark Mexico has had another bang on his elbow and I guess that means he is going to be a doubt,” he continued.

“Most of the others have come through. It will be the last or second to last game of the season. You will be carrying injuries, that is expected, but we are at that stage when you just have to get through it. You can if you have the right mindset.”