PROP Mitch Stringer may be Sheffield Eagles ‘wild card’ selection for the derby game at Doncaster.
It might be a risky option with the classy forward still working hard for match fitness following a long lay-off after a knee operation.
“Mitch is one of the smartest front rowers in the competition. Maybe it’s time to give him the nod and play him this weekend,” said coach Mark Aston.
“He’s working hard to get fit after having a knee operation and maybe he’s put a few extra pounds on but maybe getting out on the field will give him the boost he needs. If we can just get him into a shirt there’s a chance.”
Stringer’s power mixed with deft touches with ball in hand have been missed as the Eagles struggled to two narrow wins in the group games of the Northern Rail Cup.
A third straight victory would just about assure the Eagles of a place in the knockout stages with one game to play. Doncaster need a victory to keep their hopes alive after one win and picking up one losing bonus point.
The Eagles won a pre-season game 40-20 but it will be a much changed and stronger Dons squad they will face at the Keepmoat on Sunday, kick-off 3pm.
Dons stand-off Paul Cooke has had two games to settle but faces a late fitness test on an ankle strain. Prop Kyle Bibb who, like Cooke, played for both Hull clubs and back row forward Mike Burnett on loan from Hull FC have been added to the pack.
Eagles are without loose forward Michael Knowles with a chipped bone in a wrist and utility back Scott Turner and hooker Aaron Smith are out of contention after picking up injuries in training.
Aston said: “Doncaster will be very different to what they were in pre-season. It will be tougher, Cookie and Mike Burnett, are both quality players who have played a lot of Super League rugby.”