SHEFFIELD Eagles’ boss Mark Aston will have to cope with the ‘Mick Cook factor’ in tonight’s game against York City Knights.
Cook was Aston’s assistant coach for the last two seasons before taking a similar role at York to player-coach Chris Thorman three months ago.
Half-back Thorman will be in the action on the field with Cook taking charge from the stands – going head to head with Aston.
“Mick knows a lot about us and will be talking to York about how to break us down and do a job,” said Aston. “He knows how we want to play. It’s all right knowing, but can they handle what we will throw at them? That’s the thing.”
Cook, Thorman and Aston are all former Eagles’ players but reunions will wait until after tonight’s game at Don Valley, kick-off 7.30pm.
Both teams go into the final Northern Rail Cup unbeaten and the winner is likely to finish top of Pool B.
“We’ve been winning and we’ve been improving every game and we want keep that going,” said Aston. “We’re into the league season next weekend and we want to go into that unbeaten.”
York have had some close calls in the group games and only squeezed past strugglers Gateshead 26-22 in the last game.
The half-back pairing of Thorman and the unpredictable former Leeds, Hull FC and Crusaders scrum-half Jordan Tansy will be the big threat. Former Wakefield and Hull forward Paul King has added experience to the pack.
The verdict is still out on some of the Eagles players’ performances and Aston is likely to make changes from the team that beat Doncaster 56-12. Centre or back rower Duane Straugheir will hope to face his old club.