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Forster Optimistic Ahead Of Barrow Friendly

North Wales Crusaders head coach Carl Forster has a 'spring in his step and reason to be optimistic' as his squad prepare to embark on the 2024 season.

Forster is set to return to familiar surroundings on Saturday as he takes his side to face Championship outfit Barrow Raiders in a pre-season friendly.

Speaking ahead of the match, which is set to be Crusaders' only pre-season run out, Forster said: "It's about getting back out there, and giving players opportunities.

"Unfortunately, as it is our only friendly, we will have to play all 25 players and we've just got to roll with it."

With Forster having recruited a larger squad than last season, he added: "It's for a number of reasons, the reserve grade in Super League isn't where it needs to be, so there is a bit of a bigger playing pool knocking about.

"If you look hard enough, and you watch certain games, you go and find good players in that area, which is what we've done that this year.

"It would be stupid not to learn from last year, I wouldn't say last year was a mistake, but the position we found ourselves in twelve months ago, I came in late, pre-season started late and our recruitment drive started late, it was a simple as that.

"We have learnt from the hard times of last year."

Pre-season for North Wales Crusaders is in its eighth week, and Forster has said that the training sessions have already been better this year: "We've had more personnel, having that bigger squad is giving a mixture of players who deserve a chance.

"Pre-season friendlies are not about winning or losing, but it's there to provide a education to the coaching staff."

With only one pre-season fixture, the 1895 Cup fixtures will be used by Forster to prepare his squad for the Betfred League One campaign.

Forster commented: "We've got to use the 1895 Cup as a pre-season competition, we have to be realistic about what our goals and aims are this season, and our main focus is League One, it is as simple as that.

"Don't get me wrong, we want to be competitive, we've got big games coming up against Swinton and Widnes, and its about putting a show on to our fans as well, so we will go onto those games with the aim of being competitive.

For some players the 1895 Cup will be their first game at semi-professional level, and Forster is aware of that.

"This weekend's friendly will play in a factor who gets a shirt for the 1895 cup fixtures.

"If its a niggle on a player leading up to those fixtures then they won't get risked."

Ticket for North Wales Crusaders' home clash against Swinton Lions are on sale now, with pre-match entertainment included in your match ticket price!

You can purchase tickets by clicking HERE.


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