Sheffield Eagles: Bare bones squad look to secure Championship survival at Batley

Dual registration ace James Bentley is unavailable for Sheffield Eagles after being named in the St Helens squad
Dual registration ace James Bentley is unavailable for Sheffield Eagles after being named in the St Helens squad

It will be as you were for Sheffield Eagles as director of rugby Mark Aston ends the season with little manoeuvre in his team selection.

With James Bentley’s inclusion in St Helens’ 19-man squad, Aston faces the prospect of no dual-registration help as he takes his side to Batley looking to build on some of the positives gained against Featherstone Rovers last week.

The Eagles could officially seal their survival this weekend, but go to Mount Pleasant down to the bare bones with a number of key performers out for the season through injury.

Aston will again give his young guns another chance to impress as he goes in search of the illusive 80-minute display.

“It will be the same 18-19 players this week. They will be tasked to get a result and put in a performance against Batley,” he said.

"For 30 minutes against Featherstone we stood up and we were good.

“We wasn't clinical and we weren’t smart, but we had a dig and we thoroughly deserved our early lead.

“That's the positive we'll be looking to build on.

“We need to do it for 80 minutes, if we had done we would have won the game and that frustrated me.

“We will be looking to extend our periods of good play.”

At the start of the Super 8s Aston saw the opportunity to catch Batley in the Championship Shield standings, but after three defeats from four Shield games Sunday’s opponents are now out of range.

While Aston is disappointed, there is still pride at stake as he challenges his side to end their final away fixture of 2018 on a high.

“Batley have turned it around a little bit,” he added.

“I thought that in the back seven games we could have caught them.

“I thought they were a realistic target, and I would have liked to have gone to Batley with the prospect of winning the game to move above them.

“It wasn't to be.

“We have just got to knuckle down, go again and put our best foot forward and hopefully get a result.

“I want to challenge to finish the season on a high because it has been a tough year.

“It is going to be a tough gig again, then we finish with two home games against Barrow and Rochdale where we need to sign off the season with a positive for the fans.”

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