Mark Aston says he won’t risk his big game players if they aren’t right, as he looks to strike the correct balance of match time and rest ahead of Sunday’s hosting of Leigh Centurions.
The Sheffield Eagles director of rugby is looking at the long game with the likes of skipper Matty James and hooker Matty Fozard, as he looks to keep them fresh for the battle ahead.
With James missing last weekend’s victory over Swinton, the temptation for Aston will be to thrust him straight back into action this Sunday, but the Eagles chief says he must guard against short-term targets with some of his key performers.
“Matty James, his knees were a mess,” Aston admitted to The Star.
“We’ll see if he is right for the Sunday, if he isn’t he won’t play.
“If he isn’t right we know that we have some big games coming up, and we’ll need him to be fit and ready.
“We have to look after him, he has played lots of minutes and lots of games, the same with Matty Fozard. We need to look after them and plan some of the games that would be better for them.”
Aston will have to decide whether to give new signing Corey Makelim a debut against Leigh, with the USA international finally joining up with his new teammates this week.
The Eagles will also be hopeful of welcoming back winger Garry Lo and youngster Oliver Davies, whilst Shaun Pick played through the pain barrier after receiving a knock in the first-half at Swinton.
“Shaun got a knock early,” Aston revealed.
“I pulled him at the game and said look I am going to need you here. There were two 10 minute slots in the second-half, and he gave me something, he stood up. He’s a tough lad. I’ve said it before it isn’t about ability, this is all about the mental appetite. The appetite was there for all to see at Swinton, we need it again.”
“Garry (Lo) was just sick. Cory Aston is doing well, and we are looking at the Rochdale fixture for him. We are looking at playing Corey Makelim. We need to have a look at him to see exactly where he is at. Menzie Yere, is getting closer. In two weeks, fingers crossed, we’ll have everyone available and fighting fit.”
Kick off this Sunday at the OLP is 3pm.