Sheffield Eagles v Halifax: Gap in quality clear, admits Eagles’ Aston

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston.
Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston.
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SHEFFIELD Eagles head coach Mark Aston will seek his club’s first Qualifiers win tomorrow, but admits there is an obvious gap between the Championship’s top clubs and Super League’s lesser lights.

As the competition enters its third week, a second-tier side is still yet to triumph over one of the elite.

Sheffield host fellow part-timers Halifax at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium as the Qualifiers two lowest-ranked sides do battle having each lost both opening games.

However, Championship front-runners Leigh Centurions and Bradford Bulls have also yet to fire with heavy defeats respectively against Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats last week.

Aston admitted: “There is a gap.

“There are clubs that have been competing for a number of years with no promotion or relegation, which has given them the chance to build.

“I spoke to Denis Betts (Widnes coach) last weekend and they have been in Super League for six years consecutively and they have made progress bit by bit.

“It is only now that they have realistically been able to fetch in people that they think are of better quality.

“We believe we have players in our camp that can handle this level and we will need to find others.”

Halifax – who only lost 14-0 against Super League Widnes in their opener – hope to have winger Tom Saxton back from injury after he missed their defeat at Hull KR last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sheffield’s clash with Salford on Sunday, September 13 has been switched to a 5pm kick off at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In League 1, Keighley Cougars head to Rochdale Hornets tomorrow and York City Knights host Hemel Stags.