North Wales Crusaders boss Anthony Murray has called for 'belief' from his side ahead of this weekend's clash at high-flying Oldham.

Prior to last weekend's dramatic late win at Newcastle Thunder, the Wrexham club's League One play-off ambitions were hit by five defeats in their previous seven fixtures.

But Murray has remained positive throughout and maintained that his side are capable of matching the division's big hitters.

Now the Cru coach has challenged his players to use their morale-boosting victory at Newcastle as a springboard for their season.

He said: "Not many teams come back from 12 points down at Newcastle as we did.

"I'm proud of the lads and of that performance. It's one which should give them a bit more belief now, because their effort an workrate has been excellent since I came back to the club.

"I say it to the lads every week, that there's no reason for them not to be confident. We've worked hard on our fitness levels and the technical aspects of our play are improving all the time.

"We've worked on being a little bit more expansive recently and against Newcastle I felt we played some of our best rugby in a while.

"All we've lacked is some composure at times in games, but hopefully that side of things is starting to improve too.

"I think our performance at Newcastle showed that when you complete your sets and finish in the right areas of the field it can give you the edge.

"We showed that we were prepared to tackle, kick and chase, and get off our line to try to keep the opposition pinned in their own 40 and we got our reward."

Currently third in the table, Scott Naylor's Oldham are among the favourites for promotion to the Championship.

An eight-game winning streak earlier in the campaign saw The Roughyeds emerge as strong title contenders, but as injuries began to bite they have since suffered three defeats in their last four games.

Despite their recent drop in form, Murray is wary of a 'very strong' Oldham side and has targeted a significant improvement on the 30-2 scoreline inflicted by the north west side in the reverse fixture.

He added: "Oldham's another tough match, but we have to go there with a belief that we can take something from the game.

"There are a lot of teams above us in this league who've spent a lot of money and have bigger squads, and although we're probably not the fanciest team, we are definitely a team that works hard.

"I'm a big believer in that, in team spirit and sticking together. I want the lads to play with a smile on their face and enjoy themselves on the pitch and hopefully they can give another good account of themselves on Sunday."

New signing Karl Ashall could feature for the first time since re-signing for the club, while fullback Tommy Johnson remains an injury doubt for the trip.

League action starts tomorrow as winless West Wales Raiders host Workington Town while Keighley Cougars travel to Coventry Bears.

Sunday's top-of-the-table clash sees leaders Bradford Bulls host title rivals York City Knights, while Doncaster head to Hunslet, Newcastle host Hemel Stags and London Skolars travel to Whitehaven.