Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says now is the time for Jordan Cox to press his claim for a regular spot, with new faces expected to arrive to bolster the Eagles’ ranks.
Cox was a high-profile arrival during the close season, but has largely found himself on the fringes of Aston’s team.
After undergoing knee surgery, the former Warrington ace was playing catch up during pre-season, with Aston often publicly challenging him to show more in training to earn a regular spot in his 17.
In recent weeks, Cox has found himself back in Aston’s thinking, with the Eagles supremo challenging the 24-year-old to rubber stamp his place in the side, ahead of an expected influx of reinforcements.
“He has had a taste of it over the past couple of games,” Aston told The Star.
“He needs to be better, that’s what we are looking for, week-by-week we want to see improvement from him. He has had a bit of a rushed start to his Sheffield Eagles career, but that is all forgotten when you get to this time of the year when you need players to be standing up and be counted.”
Aston insists he has seen a big improvement behind the scenes with the ex-Hull KR prop, which has resulted in his inclusion in the last two Championship games.
But with Aston recently lining up two potential recruits from France, plus the possibility of further additions from the domestic market, Cox needs to maintain his recent standards to stay in Aston’s thoughts.
“He has got his head down, he is working really hard and he really wants to impress,” Aston added.
“He will have to do to make sure that he keeps his place, because there are plenty of people who are going to be fighting to get in this side. Don’t forget we haven’t done in terms of bringing players in, we will be adding to our squad.”
“So over the next month or so it is going to be interesting for everybody,” Aston added.
“The lads will be scrapping to make sure that they retain their places, so it is important now that everyone starts hitting their straps. We want to push on for the second half of the season and there is no better way this weekend against Toulouse.”