Eagles clash ‘massive’, says Dons coach Paul Cooke

Dons player coach Paul Cooke

Dons player coach Paul Cooke

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Doncaster will be looking to upset the odds and clip Sheffield Eagles’ wings in tonight’s Championship derby at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Both sides go into the game with something to prove to their respective supporters having conceded 40 points or more away to West Yorkshire rivals at the weekend.

Dons’ boss Paul Cooke was unusually critical of his side’s first half display following the 40-6 defeat at The Shay and will be looking for a response against Mark Aston’s men.

Having beaten the Dons in their ‘home’ game, high-flying Eagles will be bidding to complete the double tonight – a result which would increase their derby rivals’ relegation fears.

“It’s a massive game,” said Cooke. “They are playing really well, home and away, and winning games when they are not playing well.

“When they do play well they are never in danger of losing and we’ve got it all to do.

“But after the disappointment of the first half at Halifax, when I had to question the players’ desire at half time, there is no better game than to play Eagles when we are given no chance.

“We were given no chance against Bradford in our last home match but we gave it a dig but we need to do better than that tonight and need to try and pick up a result.

“What both I and the coaching staff need to do is to get the players to win a game.”

Although the Dons suffered a 26-4 defeat when the two sides last met, it wasn’t as one-sided as the score would suggest with Eagles scoring a converted try in the last play of the game.

“There were certainly some positives we could take from the game,” said Cooke.