Winger Ben Blackmore is unlikely to win his fitness battle this weekend as Sheffield Eagles face another tough examination against second-place Toulouse.
Blackmore was a notable absentee from the squad as the Eagles were taken to task by Featherstone last weekend, and a troublesome knee problem is again set to block a return for Mark Aston’s side.
The versatile operator is a key performer for the Eagles, and he is joined by Jon Magrin in the treatment room, as Aston looks to fill the gaps for another test from a top-four contender.
Aston said: “I think Ben will struggle again this weekend. He is carrying a knee injury that doesn’t seem to be clearing up so I am not hopeful that he will be back. The physio reckons that it isn’t anything too serious but Ben inside his mind feels that it isn’t right. It is one of them sort of things, it is the injury and the mental side of it. We are hoping to get him to see someone just to confirm what the physio is saying so he can crack on.”
Magrin won’t be fit after taking a nasty cut to his lip against Featherstone, but Irish international Josh Toole has a chance after suffering from concussion.
Dual-registration regulars Matty Lees and Jack Ashworth have been included in the matchday squad as St Helens take on Wakefield tonight.
Aston also says he plans to have discussions with half-back Simon Brown after he was dropped from the squad for being late last Saturday.
Toulouse will be big favourites but Aston says it is the perfect test of his side’s character after the disappointment of their latest home defeat to Featherstone.
“We are playing the top three. Featherstone was tough, Toulouse are going well, Toronto are at the top and we have them next,” he added.
“It doesn’t get any more difficult than that but it is about our character. It is about us individually and collectively putting our best foot forward and performing. That’s what you are looking for in these games, you look for the big players to stand up and take control to make sure they come off with the plaudits. That’s what we are looking for. Can we win? Of course we can, I always believe that we can. We beat Toulouse in Wakefield last season but we know that we have to be very good.”