Sheffield Eagles will have to play with ‘confidence and belief’ in of a potential season-defining game with Halifax tomorrow (3pm).
Director of rugby Mark Aston takes his side to The Shay for a milestone 1,000th Sheffield Eagles fixture, knowing that a win would almost certainly secure his side a place in the middle eight.
However, a defeat would set up a nervy conclusion for the Eagles, with Fax sensing a final opportunity to gatecrash the top four and a place in the middle eight.
Featherstone did their chances no harm with a shock victory over Bradford in midweek to also put pressure on Aston’s side, with just four rounds of the regular season remaining.
“They are all good teams, so we have to hit our mark and play with confidence and belief,” Aston told The Star.
“Halifax have racked up 40-odd points in their last three games. They have beaten Featherstone, London and Dewsbury comfortably. We know we can be better than we were last week, and we know that we will need to be.”
Aston believes that one more victory should be enough to see his side over the line. But, with four tough fixtures remaining, against Halifax, Featherstone, Bradford and London, he knows that his side need to improve on recent performances if they are to secure the necessary points.
“I believe another win will get us there but after the performance against Workington you have to think we will need to play much better,” he conceded.
“We have to be positive, but also I have to be hard as well. As far as I’m concerned, we need to win this game on Sunday. It is a big challenge and we have to be up for it.
As a coaching team, we will have to pick the team correctly, one that we think can win the game, so we will have to change a few things around.”
Hooker Keal Carlile is expected to return to the squad after he was rested last weekend, while Mitch Stringer (neck) and Rob Worrincy (back) should be back in contention. Half-back Cory Aston and centre Sam Smeaton are suspended.
“I wanted to give Keal a break last week because there is a huge part of the season coming up,” Aston revealed.
“Jimmy (Davey) did some good things against Workington, Keal has been good previously. Is it those two we pick? Where does Dave Petersen fit in? We just need to make sure that we get the team right.”