Rugby League: Aston wants Sheffield folk to back Eagles at Wembley
Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says he’ll tap into the knowledge of his previous Wembley success after guiding his side to the 1895 Cup final.
The Eagles will face Widnes on Saturday 24th August, with the two sides set for a dress rehearsal this Friday in another crucial Championship fixture at the OLP.
Aston’s side still hold a slim chance of making the play-offs, but it is the cup which has taken much of the attention this week after the Eagles secured a hard-fought victory over Batley last weekend.
The win sparked celebrations amongst players and fans alike, with an emotional Aston stating afterwards he’ll look to embrace his own experiences of Wembley success with the club back in 1998, as he plots for a similar outcome in 2019.
Aston said: “I took Paul Broadbent into the dressing rooms afterwards, and he said a few words. He is as proud as I am. Rocky Turner was here today, myself and Keith (Senior) were obviously involved in 1998 as well. We'll use our experiences to help them. What John Kear did in 1998 was unbelievable in terms of the preparation. The things he talked about, it was great. We can learn from that.
“It is massive (going to Wembley). I saw people at the game who I haven't seen for a while, and they were saying we are back. We have a quality group of players and board of directors who are behind this. There is a lot of good work going in. Going to Wembley is going to get us back in the public domain, and let’s hope the people of Sheffield come back and support us at Wembley.”
For now, the cup is put to one side as the Eagles gear up for a league showdown with the Vikings, with Aston acutely aware there is no margin for error in the remaining games if his side are to gate crash the top five.
Aston’s side remain four points adrift of fifth placed Featherstone Rovers, with five league games remaining.
The Eagles chief has already conceded his side will have to win all five games, and also hope for help from some of the other sides in the race, if they are to finish in the Championship elite positions.
After the elation of last weekend, Aston will be seeking to channel the feel-good factor into Friday’s encounter in an attempt to kick-start a strong finish to the league season.
He added: “We enjoyed the win but we came in on Tuesday and the focus is on the league. We want to back up the performance against Batley, that's what it is about week in, week out. We want another performance, and we want to keep winning to go into the Wembley final with some confidence.”
Aston is likely to be again without experienced hooker James Davey who has been suffering from an ankle injury.
Davey missed last weekend’s semi-final against his former club, with Aston keen not to rush him back into action too quickly with their trip to Wembley in mind.
Kick-off against Widnes on Friday night is 7.45pm.