Returning duo Jamie Langley and Mitchell Stringer will add direction and leadership to Sheffield Eagles, says director of rugby Mark Aston.
The pair boast a raft of experience between them and provide the game management qualities which appear high on Aston’s manifesto.
Following injuries in pre-season Aston has been without two of his big players but both are firmly on the comeback trail with Langley getting 40 minutes under his belt against Oldham, and Stringer set to feature for the first time in this weekend’s fixture at home to Hunslet Hawks at The Keepmoat Stadium.
“It is vital to get the likes of Jamie Langley and Mitchell Stringer back because they are so important to us,” Aston told The Star.
“We have some tough games ahead over the next few weeks and we need our best team out there and that’s what we are trying to find now.”
Langley, who combines his playing duties with a role on the coaching staff, arrived in the close season but a niggling injury resulted in a frustrating wait for his Eagles’ bow. After finally seeing the loose forward in action Aston revealed he was relieved to finally get the former Great Britain international on the field.
“It is a relief to have him back because he is a leader and once he gets his confidence back he can lead this team from the front,” he said.
“You have to remember that was his first game back after nine months, from my perspective I was just glad to have him back and available to us again.”
Stringer has been sidelined with a troublesome ankle problem but he is set to return ahead of schedule, with Aston insisting he will play a part at the weekend.
“It was always the plan to get Mitch back as quick as possible but he is still working hard to get to where we want him to be,” Aston conceded.
“At times though you have to do what you have got to do and we will throw him into the side and see how long he can go for us. If we can get 10-15 minutes out of him twice over in our game next week then we’ll be happy. We had the same plan with Jamie Langley against Oldham but we ended up getting 40 minutes out of him which was double what we were expecting.”
In the fifth round of the Challenge Cup the Eagles have a home draw to Super League Hull FC who won the trophy last in 2005.