2022 Betfred Championship: Leigh Centurions, Featherstone Rovers and Halifax Panthers among Mark Aston’s tips
Sheffield Eagles chief Mark Aston believes the 2022 Betfred Championship will be more competitive than ever as he prepares his troops for a testing start.
Delays to the construction of the Community Stadium at the Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe mean Sheffield begin the new second tier campaign with seven consecutive games on the road, including three trips to Cumbria.
An away tie in the Challenge Cup fourth round also awaits before their first home match of the season against London Broncos on Good Friday (15 April).
"We could do with a great start and it’s not going to be easy when you talk about the first seven games away,” Aston said.
"We have got a tough start. In Barrow (Raiders), Whitehaven and Workington (Town) it won’t be much tougher than that.”
Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions have been installed as joint favourites for promotion next season, with Halifax Panthers, who have signed Aston’s son and ex-Eagle, Cory, as well as former Sheffield favourite Bradley Knowles, also tipped for a successful year.
“It’s going to be a tough competition," warned Aston, who wants his new-look team to take things ‘one week at a time’ as they navigate their way through the expanded 14-team division.
"You look at the likes of Leigh, Featherstone, Halifax (Panthers) and York (City Knights) to name a few, they have been investing heavily.
"It’s going to be tough, absolutely no doubt about that. Year by year the Championship gets better, there’s more clubs with an eye on promotion.
"One team can go up so they are going to be scrapping for it.”