Sheffield Eagles director Mark Aston has installed an added intensity to training this week, as his side look to return to winning ways against Batley tomorrow (3pm).
Aston has taken a tougher approach to his preparations in the build-up to the visit of Matt Diskin’s Bulldogs, as he looks for a positive response to last weekend’s defeat to Halifax.
Both sides come into the game off the back of a defeat, and with one win from three Championship outings, as Aston seeks a return to the standards set in the recent victory over Toulouse.
“I think it is two teams that are very similar at the moment,” Aston said. “Both camps are looking for consistency and I think it’ll come down to the team that wants it the most. It will be which team is willing to do that little bit extra, and I hope that it’s us because we were really disappointed after the game with Halifax.”
Batley’s sole victory of the season came against Fax in round two, after being hammered on the opening day by Toulouse.
The Bulldogs, who finished in the top four last season, have so far failed to hit the heights of 2016, and were well beaten last weekend by Featherstone.
Diskin could include four ex-Eagles from recent years with Dom Brambani, James Davey, Sam Smeaton and Pat Walker all featuring in the opening rounds.
“They finished high in the league last season because they were so good,” Aston warned.
“They were very consistent but it is a new team now with a new coach, so they are taking a little bit of time to adapt. They can play, there is no doubting that. They put in a big performance recently against Halifax, and they won that game convincingly.”
The Eagles could hand a debut to new loan signing Liam Johnson, whilst Aston also confirmed yesterday he isn’t expected to be boosted this week by their dual-registration partners Leigh.
“Liam is available and he is in contention. Will he get the nod? We’ll have to wait and see,” Aston added.
“We will train at the back end of the week and it is all about what happens in training. It has been quite physical so far, so we’ll see what we get from them.”
Sunday’s clash is the second game for the Eagles at their temporary home in Wakefield.