Sheffield Eagles need to wins for Championship survival, says chief Mark Aston
The ability to handle the pressure games could give Sheffield Eagles the vital edge as they look to achieve Championship survival.
That is the view of coach Mark Aston who is using the break in the calendar to give his side some much needed time away from the club, as the Eagles ready themselves for the final stretch of what has been another challenging season.
Aston admits that two wins from their final seven games should see them over the line, and the experienced coach will take confidence from his side’s record against the teams around them, which has seen his side win a number of tight encounters.
“The teams around us, we have shown we can compete with and we know we can beat them,” Aston told The Telegraph.
“There were a couple of games against Barrow earlier in the season where we know we let ourselves down at times, but generally I think the pressure games have been handled really well.
“That bodes well for the Shield games, because I still feel we’ll need a couple of wins to make sure that we stay up. It would be nice to start the middle eights with some good performances and get those wins as quick as possible.
“We have three wins on Swinton and Rochdale. They will have to win three out of their last seven to get level with us without us winning, so with the two wins recently we have put ourselves in a decent position.
“We need to focus on getting a positive result or two and that will put us in a great position to stay up. We want to do it as quick as possible and then we can start building for 2019. It can’t come quick enough as far as I am concerned.”
The Eagles looked to be heading into the Championship Shield fixtures with an unexpected result when they were in front at the interval against Leigh last Sunday.
But the Centurions upped their game after the break to secure the victory, but Aston will take some confidence from the performance knowing there will be another showdown with Leigh to come.
Featherstone were the other side to miss out on a top-four place, as the Championship takes a break before the final phase of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Aston awaits news on dual-registration ace Jake Spedding who may require surgery on an ankle injury which is threatening to end his season prematurely.
The St Helens ace has suffered with ankle issues during the season, and Aston is waiting on confirmation of the extent of the latest setback.
“I am waiting to hear the latest with Jake,” Aston explained.
“We’ll have to see what happens. It is an ankle issue again, and from what I know it is a grade two so he will have seen the surgeon and then a decision will be made whether he needs an operation or not.
“We are hopeful he won’t, and if that is the case then we are probably looking at four to six weeks out.”