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Preview: Newcastle V Crusaders

North Wales Crusaders head to the North East this weekend as they look to maintain their place in the Betfred League One play-off places having climbed back into the top six with last weekend's victory over Workington Town.

Sunday is the first of two back-to-back away trips for Carl Forster's Crusaders side who face the gruelling schedule of a trip to Newcastle followed by Cornwall.

However, the side will be in a jubilant mood having came away with a last second winner last time out as Chris Barratt's try was converted by Ben Lane to give North Wales a 34-32 victory.

What The Coach Is Saying:

Focus for Carl Forster is firmly on backing up last week's win whilst realising that Sunday's encounter with Newcastle will be no east task.

Speaking to the media, Forster said: "The play-offs is the target for us, look at last year, we finished sixth and got all the way to the grand final, so we just want to ensure that we are in that top six come the end of the year.

“Our next three games are now against teams who are around us and also fighting to push on in the second half of the season, so it’s no secret that if we want to finish in that top six then these are games which we need to be winning.

“That said, it won’t be easy, we need to be at the top of our game if we want to get results, and there’s no way we can turn up to any game thinking it’s won, because we’ll get punished."

You can read Carl's full interview by clicking here.

Team News:

Forster is set to name a strong side to travel to the North East, with the possibility of several players returning from injury as well as Rob Massam in line to make his first start since returning to the club.

Crusaders will be without the services of full-back Owain Abel who remains out through injury following a scan.

In Opposition:

Despite being without a win in 2024, Newcastle are a side not to be underestimated.

Following adversity in the off-season which nearly saw the club fold, it's a credit to head coach Chris Thorman and everyone involved with the club that they take to the field on Sunday.

However, the time has gone for looking backwards for Thunder, as they continue to improve week-by-week and also make use of dual-registration signings.

Rochdale Hornets were recent visitor's to Tyneside, with Newcastle taking the game to the Hornets falling short by just six points in an 18-24 defeat.

Our last meeting came on the 7th April when we saw off Sunday's hosts 58-18 in Colwyn Bay

Sunday's fixture takes place at Blaydon RLFC with a kick-off time of 2pm.


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