Anthony Murray believes that successive defeats against League One's top two sides have highlighted North Wales Crusaders' current standing within the game.

Sunday's one-sided 31-4 reverse at home to York City Knights followed a 50-12 hammering at leaders Bradford Bulls a week earlier.

And coach Murray believes the margins of their recent losses, which have left the Wrexham club 10th in the division, are a reflection of the quality his side are up against this term.

He said: "We knew that this was going to be a tough month for us in terms of the teams we'd be coming up against and it's certainly proved to be the case so far.

"Playing two quality sides back-to-back has been a big challenge for the lads and has shown the high standards that are required to be competing at the top of this league, which is stronger than ever right now.

"The top two or three sides have started to open up a bit of gap between themselves and the next grouping of teams below them and then there's another five-point gap between us and those sides now.

"So it's important that we're realistic about things. These results have given us a measure of where we are as a club and left us knowing that we've got work to do if we're going to bridge that gap in the fixtures we've got ahead of us."

The Cru's latest defeat saw the Knights amass 31 unanswered points before Dale Bloomfield's late consolation try.

Forced to defend for long periods of the game, the hosts were unable to summon enough attacking verve to threaten the Knights.

Murray added: "York are showing their quality this season and I'd say they're the best team we played in this division by a country mile. They put us under a lot of pressure from the start of the game and we were on the back foot.

"But the way we defended our goal line and withstood that pressure was really pleasing and I couldn't have asked for more from my players in that respect.

"We put bodies on the line and we're only 13 points down at half-time, but I felt we were our own worst enemy at times in the second half.

"Spending so much time without the ball took a toll on the players and limited the strength of our attacking play - so that was a big factor for us.

"But our completion rate of 48 per cent wasn't good enough and as a team we need to be turning more ball over and being more effective.

"That's something that we need to address, but it's important that we stay positive and keep our heads up.

"Our focus now is on picking up points and clawing back that gap between ourselves and the teams just above us. We'll knuckle down in training this week and make sure we're ready for a tough game away from home against London."