Preview: Doncaster RLFC v Sheffield Eagles (3pm)

Richard Wilkinson is expected to be missing for the Sheffield clash due to injury.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Richard Wilkinson is expected to be missing for the Sheffield clash due to injury. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Both Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles go into Sunday’s South Yorkshire Championship derby at the Keepmoat Stadium looking to get back to winning ways.

While the Dons were losing 44-32 at Keighley, Eagles were suffering yet another home defeat at Owlerton against Batley.

Dons boss Paul Cooke knows that not only can his side play better than at Cougar Park, but so too can Eagles.

“They might have a poor home record this season but they’ve only lost a few away games so that concerns me,” admitted Cooke.

“They are the current league champions and they are a much better team than they have probably shown at Owlerton.

“It’s probably better for them to be playing away and I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to playing on the wonderful surface at the Keepmoat.

“As I say, they are a very good team and we’ve got to be very good ourselves on Sunday because if we’re not we face the possibility of defeat.

“We’ve conceded too many points in our last two games and to lose on Sunday after scoring 32 points was very disappointing.

“We know we are going to have to defend better than we did against both Swinton and Keighley because they have got the players to score plenty of points if you don’t defend properly.”

“We’ve had some words behind closed doors this week about why we didn’t turn up and why we didn’t play like we had practised – albeit I pulled out on the day of the match.

“We also made too many basic elementary errors when the opportunities were there.

“I know the referee got a few decisions wrong in the first half, but we can’t blame him for the result because we got ourselves back in a position to win the game in the second half when leading 22-18 but we gave it back to them.

“I certainly don’t think that they had to work particularly hard to win.”

Defeat dented the club’s hopes of claiming second spot behind runaway Championship leaders Leigh.

“We’ve got to win all five of our remaining games to be in with a chance of finishing second now,” said Cook.

“But to be honest we are just taking it one game at a time and we are looking no further than the Eagles game.”

Cooke is expected to return to action after missing the defeat at Cougar Park with a virus.

However, the Dons will be without injured scrum-half Richard Wilkinson.