Davey in doubt for Owlerton

Eagles James Davey
Eagles James Davey

Hooker James Davey will be given “until the last minute” to prove his fitness before Sheffield Eagles’ season opener tomorrow.

Eagles begin the defence of their Championship title against Rochdale Hornets on their return to Owlerton Stadium (2pm), after 25 years at Don Valley.

New signing forward Ben Jones is also a doubt for what is a historic rerun of the Eagles first ever game in 1984.

“James has a tweak on his hamstring and we’ll give him until the final minute” said coach Mark Aston. “Ben has a groin strain and we have to make the decision if it’s right for him. I can’t risk not having somebody for the full 80 minutes.”

Connor Scott may start at prop as he did in the friendly at York and Greg Burns could get another chance as back-up hooker if Davey fails a late test.

Training was disrupted by the storms this week with Wednesday’s session called off. Hillsborough College have come to the rescue though.

Forwards Jack Blagbrough, signed from Huddersfield and Will Hope on a season’s loan from Salford may make their debuts. In the centres either Corey Hanson or Jon Ford, also on loan from Salford, will partner Menzie Yere.

Aston said: “Corey looked strong at York and Jon comes from a full-time environment and knows how to score tries. I was impressed by Connor Scott and Jack Blagbrough did well. If James Davey isn’t fit we might go with Greg Burns. It’s good to have people who can handle things. We have young lads vying for a place.”

Ian Talbot, coach of promoted Rochdale says facing the Championship title holders at Owlerton is a “baptism of fire”. He added: “Sheffield are at a level that we aspire too, we are under no illusions it will be tough but we’re used to playing on tight pitches.”