Sheffield Eagles benefit by a fight for places in the team
Competition in the ranks has got players looking over their shoulder, according to Sheffield Eagles club skipper Matty James.
Eagles return to action this Sunday after a weekend off for the Challenge Cup, with director Mark Aston using the break to reflect on how the club approach the second-half of the campaign.
Over the last couple of seasons, Aston has been hamstrung when looking at making changes, but after ensuring he had a stronger squad through his recruitment during the off season, plus sealing a dual-registration agreement with London Broncos, he is in a position to make changes following back-to-back defeats.
Eagles performed well in defeat at Leigh last time out, but James knows with the added depth to the squad at this stage, there is no margin for error for any of the current mainstays, using the Good Friday defeat of Toulouse to back up his point.
James said: “When we have everyone available, there is strong competition here, and there will be lads who have been unlucky not to be involved really looking to get back in now.
“Some people might have thought we went into the game with Toulouse under strength, but every man was up there around 8 or 9 out of 10 which shows the depth. We put a marker down, we know what we are capable of.”
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With the likes of Lewis Taylor and Menzie Yere out on loan looking to sharpen their fitness should they be required by the Eagles, plus centre Jason Crookes closing in on a return to fitness, competition is likely to be increased.
Aston has had a plethora of different options from London for most weeks since the agreement, as he looks at what is available for the Summer Bash showdown with Barrow on Sunday.
Despite the recent defeats, James says the feel-good factor around the club is still very much intact as the Eagles enjoyed a well-earned break following a chaotic run of games throughout Easter.
He added: “The recent run of games is a real test of your professionalism as a part-time player. Full-time players are really looked after in Super League, whereas the likes of us have been at work all day, and then we have to put it on the line. We have a strong mentality in the group though, we have used the breaks wisely and we'll get ready to go again.”