Despite two losses from as many games, Whitehaven’s newly appointed coach James Coyle has seen improvements in his side over the last couple of weeks.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough one at Odsal,” said Coyle.

“But I think we took some massive strides forward from the Halifax game. A lot of things we worked on during the week we put into practice.”

Former Hunslet half-back Coyle says that the 12 new players and the dual-registration players that came in at the last minute didn’t help with cohesion.

Whitehaven welcome Craig Calvert back into the squad for the match while John Paul Brocklebank is also featured. Brocklebank is looking to make his first competitive debut.

Mark Aston has praised his Sheffield side for their “outstanding” win over London Broncos last week, but all their focus is now on Whitehaven at the weekend, and the preparation has stepped up a notch compared to previous clashes against the Cumbrians.

“We’ve been beaten the last two times up there,” he said.

“We’re making sure we prepare correctly this time by travelling up the day before, to make sure we haven’t got any excuses to perform at the highest level.”

Aston has been rather complimentary of a couple of players in the Whitehaven squad, and also spoke highly of their link with Widnes Vikings.

“They’ve got some quality players like Dave Allen, who I believe should still be in Super League, while Jesse Joe Nandye is always a threat and they’ve got a nice link now with Widnes.” said Aston.

The Sheffield coach also added that there’d be no point in having a great win against London if it was all to come undone a week later.

Wakefield loanee Jon Molloy will miss out for the Eagles this weekend as he’s been ruled out with a virus.

However, fellow back-rower John Davies is added to the Sheffield squad for the first time this season.