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Sheffield Eagles boss is ready to ring the changes

James Davey
James Davey

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says he has at least six new faces already sealed for 2019 after confirmation that James Davey will return to the club.

The Eagles’ chief has wasted little time in his recruitment drive, confirming the return of the 29-year-old on a two-year deal from Batley Bulldogs with more new faces expected to be confirmed shortly.

Davey was part of the Batley side that beat the Eagles comfortably at the weekend – another result and performance which left Aston bitterly disappointed as they dropped below Barrow in the Championship standings.

But plans are moving quickly to try avoid another season of struggle, with Aston stating that Davey is just one of a number of players he has nailed down for 2019.

“We have made progress. I am flying around to all corners,” he told The Star.

“There are six or seven players in the bag already, and there are another six or seven to come in as well. ​​​​​​​There will be significant change, and there is some exciting news which everyone will be delighted with going forward. There are some players coming here that will be really exciting.”

Aston says he has more meetings planned as he looks to nail down the majority of his squad by the end of this month, and admitted he has been pleased with his early progress.

Davey is the first name to be formally announced, and he returns having enjoyed a highly-successful stint with the club between 2012 and 2015, which included playing a part in Grand Final success in 2012 and 2013.

The ex-Wakefield ace was one of a number of players who departed the club after the Eagles ill-fated attempt at going full-time, which ended after just one season.

“James is a champion of a lad and he epitomises what we want,” Aston added.

“He trains hard, he is positive, he has a smile on his face all the time. Can he play? Well, he ripped us to bits at times on Sunday. He can certainly play. We have had a good relationship through his first spell here. 

“To get him back is certainly a shot in the arm for us and a signal of our intent because as far as I am concerned he is one of the best nines in the competition.”