Doncaster RLFC v Sheffield Eagles: Positive response required in derby - Cooke

Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles renew their rivalry tonight.
Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles renew their rivalry tonight.

The South Yorkshire Cup is up for grabs tonight when derby rivals Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles clash at the Keepmoat Stadium (7.30pm).

But it is Championship points which will be the main focus of Dons’ boss Paul Cooke and his Eagles counterpart Mark Aston.

Third-placed Eagles will be looking to pick up their sixth successive league win, while the Dons will be bidding to break their duck.

Eagles won both games between the two clubs at the Keepmoat last season, knocking the Dons out of the Championship play-offs.

With both teams based at the stadium this season, and playing their respective home games on the same day, there is little the respective coaches don’t know about their rivals.

Cooke certainly knows enough about Eagles to know his side face a tough encounter.

“They are a good side – better than last season, like everybody is which is obviously why we find ourselves in the position we are,” he said.

“Tubby (Aston) is a good coach and he’s got a good staff and they have a good group (of players) so we’ve got it all to do.

“But [after Batley] we’ll go into the game with a bit more confidence than would have been the case a week ago. We need a positive response from Sunday’s disappointment and I’m sure we’ll get it due to the magnitude of the game tonight.”

The Dons have several players who missed the 16-14 defeat against Batley available for tonight’s game, which has been brought forward from Good Friday to allow for more recovery time ahead of Easter Monday’s trip to fellow strugglers Whitehaven.