THE new head coach of rugby league club Crusaders is urging fans to keep the faith throughout its off-pitch difficulties.

As pre-season training got underway, Iestyn Harris said he was delighted with the passion people have shown for the Wrexham-based Super League team.

He said their sustained backing is vital for Crusaders’ long-term success – and that the club was committed to staying in the town.

The club, which shares Wrexham FC’s Racecourse ground, has been subject to a winding-up order and was last week placed into administration.

Mr Harris was promoted to the top job earlier this month following the resignation of former Great Britain boss Brian Noble.

He is a respected figure in Super League from his time as a player and coached the Welsh national side for two years, winning the European Cup twice.

Mr Harris said: “People throughout the area have been fantastic in the way they have got behind the club – it is a tribute to them. We hope they will keep that up.”

He said it was important the club’s finances were sorted out as soon as possible.

“Obviously this is a difficult period. Things aren’t ideal but we have to manage.

“We are looking to bring in a few new players and the administration status complicates matters.

“We very much want to stay in Wrexham. The people have shown they have the support for Super League.

“The fans have been great and the atmosphere for match days is terrific. You can sense that Wrexham is definitely getting the feel of a rugby league town.”

Mr Harris said: “Although we can’t influence what happens off the pitch we can make sure we all focus and are ready for next season.”