Sheffield Eagles are hoping to have some of their big names back as they attempt to be the first league side to topple Bradford Bulls on their own patch on Sunday.
Prop Tony Tonks is set to return to the squad after his two-match suspension whilst a host of others are battling to be available for an enthralling encounter with two of the current divisional heavyweights.
The Eagles victory over Halifax last weekend kept them in touch with second-placed Bradford and they know victory will see them move level on points with the former Super League giants.
Director of Rugby Mark Aston is monitoring several members of his squad who are on the comeback trail, with former Bradford favourite Jamie Langley fighting a groin strain which has seen him sidelined for 10 days.
“Jamie has been unfortunate with injuries and we need to have him in a shape where he can give us 60-80 minutes” Aston said. “We are trying to build him up slowly and the same can be said for Duane Straugheir who has had an hamstring injury.”
Whilst Langley may face an uphill task, Aston will be able to call on the services of Tonks, whilst Pat Walker also continues to make progress after cracking a bone in his airway channel. “It will be great to have Tonker back and Patch (Walker) has been one of our batter players this season so it is important we get as many players on deck now for this push in the second half of the season,” Aston said.The one remaining doubt will be over Misi Taulapapa who limped out of the home victory over Halifax with a groin problem.
But Aston believes the New Zealander will do everything he can to be available.
“Misi is a fighter and a winner but that injury will be sore for a few weeks, but that won’t stop Misi Taulapapa, not many things stop him playing rugby league and playing for Sheffield Eagles.”
Meanwhile, following second-rower Oliver Roberts’ return to parent club Huddersfield Giants, Aston confirmed the Eagles do have an option to take him back should they wish to exercise it.