Championship preview: Doncaster v Sheffield Eagles

Paul Cooke’s Doncaster side came desperately close to their first win on Sunday, going down 16-14 to Batley Bulldogs: “We’re close but still not close enough,” said Cooke. “After a difficult week for the players they put into action what we talked about on the nights we trained. It was a step in the right direction but ultimately it’s not yielded us any points.

“It’s a quick turnaround this week but intentionally so given that we travel all the way up to Whitehaven on Easter Monday.”

Looking ahead to the South Yorkshire derby he said: “Sheffield aren’t doing too badly are they? They’ve certainly improved in the areas they needed to improve in from last season, in particularly the signing of Kyle Briggs. He’s certainly doing a fantastic job for them and Mitch Stringer is back as well with some experience in the front row. They’re working hard for each other and grinding out some results.

“It’s certainly going to be spicy as usual with the South Yorkshire thing. We look forward to the challenge and it will be one hell of a challenge.”

Sheffield, currently lying third in the table, had a hard fought win over Hunslet Hawks and coach Mark Aston says they are continuing to do it tough: “It was a win but one of those ugly wins which we’ve been getting for the last six weeks,” he said. “But it keeps the momentum going and that’s the most important thing. We’re not far off, we just a little bit more fine tuning.”

On playing co-hosts Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium he said: “We love playing there and are indebted to the Keepmoat and Doncaster for allowing us to play at such a wonderful facility.

“They are danger for us. They can play, they’re a bit battered and bruised at the moment and low on confidence but it’s always dangerous when you come into these sorts of games.

“We are in arm wrestles at the moment, playing tough and defending pretty well. We need to start clicking and it can’t come quickly enough for me.”

Forward Jamie Langley, who was rested for the Hunslet game will be included in the squad for this game.

A full report from this game will, as always, be available to read in Monday’s edition of League Express.