Sheffield Eagles chief Mark Aston faces tough challenge to assemble new squad for next season

Sheffield Eagles head coach Mark Aston. Photo Dean Atkins
Sheffield Eagles head coach Mark Aston. Photo Dean Atkins
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The recruitment challenge remains a tough conundrum for Sheffield Eagles chief Mark Aston, despite the club finally returning to the Steel City.

Eagles have yet to formally confirm any new recruits for the 2018 season, but Aston is thought to have all but concluded negotiations with a number of his present squad, as well as some new blood for the next campaign.

The Eagles chief is currently at the World Cup with Ireland, but is keeping his finger on the pulse with domestic matters as he looks to plot a course for success in their first season at the Olympic Legacy Park.

Aston though has lost the likes of Sam Scott to York and Duane Straugheir to Hunslet, both to sides who are currently operating at League One level, as the competition around the clubs continue to get financially stronger.

“The club is in a better place, that’s for sure and we are coming back to Sheffield which also helps,” Aston told The Star.

“It is still tough though because there are only a certain number of players available to us. In the division below, they are starting to pay out more money. Players are always going to leave if the offer is better elsewhere.”

With the Leigh and Toronto moving into The Championship next season, the financial gap is evident.

Aston though remains confident the Eagles will be ready for next season, as he again looks to defy the odds on their long awaited return to Sheffield.

“It is still a tough one, and you know it isn’t just going to happen, there is a lot of work ahead to get the right players here,” he added.

“We have to be patient and get the players that we want and that we can get in. We need not panic, we will get them through the door, I am confident of that, there is no doubt about it.”

Meanwhile, Aston guided Ireland to a 36-12 victory over Italy in their World Cup opener in Cairns.

The Wolfhounds coped well with the intense heat which was expected to have an impact on Aston’s side, as they bagged six tries in what was an impressive opening display.

The Irish are next in action against Papua New Guinea on Sunday, November 5.