Sheffield Eagles bid to go top of league

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SHEFFIELD Eagles and Batley Bulldogs play for the right to go top of the league – if only for 24 hours – tonight.

“It would be nice to go top but there is still a lot of the season to go,” said Eagles’ boss Mark Aston. “Having studied Batley over the last few games they are a very good team playing well. We have to focus on the game and put together another big performance.”

The winner of the clash at Bramall Lane will move above Halifax. Aston is hoping his team can extend their winning run to three games against Batley who took over second place when they beat Halifax 23-16. The game sees the return of John Kear who coached the Eagles, including then player Aston, to their Challenge Cup Final win over Wigan Warriors in 1998.

Aston isn’t surprised by his old coach’s success after dropping down from the Super League with Wakefield to coach Batley this season.

He said: “John always inspires teams, he gets them to play well particularly early on and Batley are playing well with lots of confidence.

“I’m not surprised by the way Batley have done – they have brought in quality players like Ben Black and Gareth Moore, there’s a good kid from Hull KR on dual reg James Green and this big young forward Alex Walmsley who has come through the student game.”