Sheffield Eagles: Leaders keen to extend home run

James Davey is pressing for a first-team recall.
James Davey is pressing for a first-team recall.

Sheffield Eagles will make late decisions on the fitness of key players ahead of tonight’s top of the table clash with Leigh Centurions.

Coach Mark Aston has been rotating his squad but an increasingly hectic battle for the league title has taken its toll.

“We’re busted up and we have plenty of injuries,” said Aston. “It’s the end of the season with five (league) games to go and we’ve played three in nine days which isn’t great and you are going to be sore. Duane Straugheir is struggling with a groin strain, Scott Turner has a nasty gash on his hand, Matt Garside is suffering after the collision with a goal post. Dom Brambani has tweaked his back.

“They are all players who potentially would be in the starting 17.”

Hooker James Davey and forward Peter Green are set to return for the leaders after being rested for the win at York.

The game at Don Valley (kick-off7.30pm) has an added edge with the Eagles seeking to wipe out the memory of defeat by the Lancashire club in the Northern Rail Cup final last month.

“We’re still hurting; we’ve been waiting for this day and it couldn’t come quick enough,” said Aston. “It’s not about revenge; it’s about putting something right that we did wrong.”

Eagles must win to keep their three-point lead over Featherstone Rovers at the top of the Championship.

Leigh are in third, six points behind but have played an extra game. The Centurions are the last team to beat the Eagles at home in the league, in May last year.

“We’ve gone over a year unbeaten at home in the league and we’re proud of that and we want to make sure of keeping that run going and Leigh stand in our way,” said Aston.

“There are a few things we need to put right. We’re looking at making sure we get what we want out of this game which is three points.

“That’s the focus for us and there will be enough quality from one to 17 to do the job.”

Eagles star Misi Taulapapa admits they let themselves in the final against Leigh.

“The feeling we had after the Northern Rail final has put a lot on the game and we’re all excited about it,” he said.

“We’re not nervous we’re just pumped up and ready to go. We know that we’re the better team.

“We lost the final because we lost ourselves and we want to show what we can do.”