Sheffield Eagles boss lays down the gauntlet to winger

Eagles winger Iliess Macani
Eagles winger Iliess Macani
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The opportunity is there to be taken, that is the message from coach Mark Aston to winger Iliess Macani as he looks to cement his position following his return to the Eagles.

After spending time on loan with League One London Skolars, the ex-London Broncos flyer returned to South Yorkshire following injury to Ryan Millar.

Aston was impressed with the 24-year-old’s performance in the recent victory over Barrow, but after a stop-start beginning with the Eagles since his arrival during the close season, Macani now has the opportunity to re-establish himself as a Championship performer.

“He needs to back himself,” Aston told The Star.

“He needs some confidence and that will come the more he plays. The most important thing is that he has been out on loan so he has been playing in a competitive environment. He is fit, so through Ryan being injured an opportunity arose for him. I thought Iliess was good against Barrow, he did a lot of good things. The rest of the season is up to him now. If he plays well, he keeps the shirt, if he doesn’t he won’t. That isn’t just Iliess, it is across the board, it is the same for all the lads.”

Macani has started the last three games under Aston, and with Millar out for the rest of the campaign, coupled with fellow winger Ben Blackmore having to manage a long standing knee issue, the Londoner’s return has come at the right time for the Eagles.

Blackmore will be one of a number who will be resting up this week, with Aston giving his squad a week-long break as they prepare for the upcoming Championship Shield fixtures which were confirmed yesterday.

The Eagles will make a swift return to the Leigh Sports Village to take on the Centurions in their opening fixture on Sunday 12th August. An away fixture at Swinton follows before back-to-back Friday night games against Dewsbury (August 31st) and Featherstone (7th September). The Eagles the return to Sunday afternoons for an away fixture at Batley (16th September), Barrow at home (23rd September) and Rochdale at home (30th September).

Meanwhile, the planning application for the development of the OLP by landlords Scarborough Group has now been submitted. The Eagles already confirmed the site will be a temporary setup again next season, and are currently looking at talks to help reduce costs so the club can remain tenants at the OLP for 2019.