Sheffield Eagles director Mark Aston says half-back Cory Aston needs to refocus during pre-season with his future at parent club Castleford Tigers up for debate.
Aston Jnr completed two stints on loan with the Eagles in 2018 as he waited for an opportunity with his parent club following a close season switch from Leeds Rhinos.
Aston’s best form of his fledgling career came under his father after he progressed through the famed Eagles youth team structure.
But this season Aston Jnr has had ups and downs, as the Eagles struggled to Championship survival.
With opportunities expected to be limited with the Tigers again next season, Aston Jr could well be loaned out in search of regular first-team action.
It remains to be seen what the future will be for the talented playmaker, but his father has stressed the importance of a strong pre-season as he looks to rediscover the form that earned a move to Super League.
Aston said: “His future is down to his parent club and where they see him next season. The question then is, is it time for him to get away from here? We'll be in a better place next year and he'll enjoy it. He needs to get a really strong pre-season under his belt, and then see what 2019 brings.
“Cory is a shadow of his former self at this moment in time. It’s heart-breaking because he’s worked hard to get to where he was. He needs to get through the tough period, get his head down and re-focus himself.”
With Jake Trueman’s emergence this season, coupled with the return from injury of Luke Gale, it is hard to see how Aston could force himself into Castleford’s highly competitive team. Jamie Ellis and Ben Roberts have also been regulars in the halves, as Aston looked to keep himself competitive with a return to theEagles.
Whilst it hasn’t been a vintage campaign for the 23-year-old, his performance against Barrow at the Summer Bash showed he still possesses the skill to be a force in the second-tier.
Aston Snr says he must rediscover his confidence and come back fighting next season, wherever he’ll be playing his rugby.
“Cas have the likes of Gale, Trueman, Roberts - there doesn't look like there’ll be much opportunity,” he added.
“Confidence is a wonderful thing, and when you haven't got it then it’s a horrible feeling. We have these kicks, but good people ride them. That's what I'm sure he'll do.”