An earlier-than-expected return to the Steel City can only benefit the progress of Sheffield Eagles - that’s the view of Director of Rugby Mark Aston following the announcement that the club will be back in Sheffield after a year exiled in Doncaster.
The Eagles are planning a quick-fire redevelopment of the Hallam University Sports Park on Bawtry Road, which will see a temporary 3,000 spectator stand installed.
With a new home back on the old Don Valley Stadium site still at least a year down the line, the move will appease many fans who were forced into a pilgrimage down the M18 to watch their side in action.
“We are Sheffield Eagles and we wanted to be back in Sheffield” Aston said. “We are pleased to give the fans what they want. As good as it was in Doncaster last year with their excellent facilities, and we are indebted to them for helping us, it still wasn’t Sheffield which is where we want to be. It will be great to be back.”
The Eagles will face a race-against-time to have their temporary home up to RFL standard, with the 2016 season beginning in February. The site is set to undergo a rapid overhaul over the next few months, but once the work is completed Aston is confident it will help garner a healthy atmosphere on match days.
“There is a bit of work to be done,” he adds. “We are installing around 1,000 temporary covered seating, but there is also work to be done on the outside so we can create a better entrance. The surface is very good and it suits our brand of football that we like to play, so that is a plus too.
“The one thing that we have never been able to have at Don Valley and places like that is atmosphere. This venue lends itself to atmosphere because the spectators will be sat right on top of the action. We are hoping more people will come down and watch.”