Anthony Murray has called for better decision-making from his North Wales Crusaders players after branding some of their recent play 'dumb'.

The Cru coach has been left frustrated by his side's inability to punish opponents, with promising attacks frequently breaking down in key areas.

Successive home defeats to Hunslet and Whitehaven have left the Wrexham club 10th in the League One standings and well adrift of the play-off places.

And Murray has demanded a 'smarter' display from his players in Sunday's away clash with Newcastle Thunder.

He said: "Technically our defensive play is excellent. We're very good in that respect and it's something we work on in training a lot, but we can't keep defending forever.

"Too often in games we get a passage of decent play and we finish in a decent area of the field and then we either give a penalty away or we do something silly when we've got the ball.

"If it was a lack of effort, commitment and enthusiasm from our players I'd be a bit worried, but it's not.

"All of that is there in abundance, we've just been a bit dumb at times in the Whitehaven game and against Hunslet a week earlier.

"So it's frustrating, and now it's a case of making sure our decision-making is better and that we're more clinical in games when we're on top.

"We have to keep our focus on improving our play week on week and if we do that I'm sure things will change for the better."

Like the Cru, Jason Payne's Thunder side head into the game on the back of successive defeats after losing out at York City Knights and Bradford Bulls.

Sunday's opponents occupy ninth spot in the table but are five points clear of the Cru after 16 games.

Murray is determined to claw back some of that deficit with a morale-boosting away victory in the north east.

"It's very important that we don't let that gap between us an them get any bigger because we want to keep in touch with the sides above us" he added.

"As far as we're concerned there's no real gulf in quality between ourselves and most of the sides in that top half of the table.

"Newcastle have done pretty well this season and will be looking to get themselves back on track in his game too.

"They've spent a bit of money this year and have their own ambitions and aspirations to chase this season. Coming off the back of two defeats, they'll be wanting to prove that they deserve to be up there competing as well.

"We're going there expecting a tough game and we'll have to have to mix it up a bit in terms of selection to get a positive result."

Record points scorer Tommy Johnson could be set to return to the Cru line-up after missing out with a rib injury against Whitehaven.

The fitness of prop Jonny Walker and and halfback Steven Roper will both be assessed ahead of Sunday's game.