Rugby League: Sheffield Eagles resigned to having to delay return of James Davey

Sheffield Eagles will still be without hooker James Davey for Sunday’s showdown with Widnes as director Mark Aston contemplates a refresh of his ranks.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 08:18 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 08:22 am
James Davey

Eagles go into the contest defending a 100% record following victories over Swinton, Barrow and Bradford. Despite level pegging at the summit of the division with Toronto Wolfpack, Eagles will again be outsiders as they look to topple a Widnes side relegated from Super League last season.

Aston was hopeful of bolstering his ranks with a return for the influential Davey (hamstring), but this weekend may be a game too soon for the 29-year-old. The Eagles chief must also decide on the fitness of others who have put their body on the line in some bruising encounters in recent weeks.

Aston said: “I wouldn't have thought Jimmy would be available, he might have a chance for the Friday night fixture against Batley. He'll be really pushing to be available for that one because it is against his former club. Would I want to risk him? I'm not sure.

“Is it time to have a look at some of the others? Blake (Broadbent) did really well when he came on. Is it time to have a look at Rory Dixon? I have half a mind, not only on Widnes, but also on the Friday night game against Batley which is a big game. Let's have a look at the squad over the next week, and we'll see who needs patching up and who might need a rest.”

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Going into the home game against Bradford, Brad Knowles passed a fitness test after cracking a rib during the victory over Barrow.

Whilst the ex-Featherstone ace came through the contest with the Bulls, Aston is wary of not pushing his troops too close to the wire, knowing Batley await the following Friday.

The Eagles are also still hopeful of finalising a dual-registration deal with a Super League club, and if the finer points on the contract can be concluded before the weekend, Aston knows he could have further options at his disposal.

He added:

“I would hope to have that announced by the middle of the week, and have some players available for the weekend.”