ANTHONY MURRAY insists the ‘belief and spirit’ of his North Wales Crusaders side has not wavered during a challenging season to date.

Now at the halfway stage of the League One campaign, the Cru sit eighth in the table and six-points adrift of the play-off places they had targeted this term.

But head coach Murray believes his side’s current league standing must be viewed in the context of the budget constraints at the Wrexham club.

He said: “There are a lot of clubs in this division who have thrown a lot of money at recruitment this season and have attracted quality players as a result.

“Unfortunately we’re not in a position at the moment to match that kind of spending power because of the limited budget we have in place here.

“But we don’t make excuses for that fact and we never will.

“It’s a case of making the best of what you have and I know that this team is capable of competing against the best in this division.

“You do have to bridge that gap in quality at times against the teams who’ve brought in some high-calibre players.

“But my players have a brilliant attitude. Their mindset heading into every game 100 per cent committed to winning and all of our preparation is done with that in mind.”

Having now faced every side in the division, the Cru have lost seven of their 10 games.

Reflecting on the campaign to date, Murray maintains that his side should be ‘six points better off’ after several narrow defeats this term.

And the Cru boss insists that reversing those fine margins of defeat will be pivotal to the Cru’s success in the second half of the season.

“By this stage of the season, I’d hoped we’d have found ourselves on at least the 12 points mark,” he added.

“And I think we should be based on what we’ve deserved from our performances in games.

“You’ve only got to look at the losses we had against Oldham, Keighley and London.

“We were ahead for long periods in all of those games and lost by just a few points late on.

“Those fine margins play a huge part over the course of the season and it does feel like those three results are the ones that have scuppered us a bit.

“If we’d closed out those games as we should have done, we’d be six points better off and sat in sixth place now.

“The fact is though that we’ve been competitive in every game we’ve played so far, barring the Newcastle defeat last time out.

“Between us, we’ve identified a points target that we think is realistic between now and the final game.

“We feel like we’ve got a good measure of the division this season and the standards of the opposition competing this season.

“From our point of view there’s lot still to play for and everyone at the club is positive we can end the season stronger than we’ve started it.”