INJURED North Wales Crusaders captain Kenny Baker insists the club can still realise their League One play-offs without him this season.

An ever-present for the Wrexham club this year, Baker is now set to miss the remainder of the campaign after breaking his hand in last weekend’s home defeat to Doncaster.

But the powerful forward has backed his side to secure a top-six finish this term and has hailed a ‘positive’ season to date under head coach Anthony Murray.

“I think we’ve made big progress this season”, said Baker.

“Last year I couldn’t see us going to places like Whitehaven and Doncaster and coming away with two points ,but we’re now showing we can compete with the best teams in the league.

“It wasn’t just the fact we won there, but the manner in which we won - because going to a top of the league side and dominating just shows the progress we’re making.

“The coaching and recruitment has been excellent. There’s a good balance in the squad, morale is really high and there’s a group of players willing to put their bodies on the line week in, week out.”

Baker’s injury, a broken fourth metacarpal in his right hand, will leave him sidelined for six weeks and means he will sit out the Cru’s remaining five games.

The setback is a familiar one for Baker, who endured the same injury in his left hand last season.

He said: “It’s a strange one. I can’t even remember how it’s happened during the Doncaster game, it was something I only felt afterwards.

“The fact that it’s the exact same injury I got last year in the opposite hand is just bad luck and it’s frustrating that I won’t be involved in the run-in now.”

With no fixture this weekend, the eighth-placed Cru return to action at Hunslet on Sunday, August 4. Further clashes against Coventry Bears, West Wales Raiders and Newcastle Thunder follow before their final home game against London Skolars on the final day.

And Baker is convinced that his team-mates can still deliver the top-six finish targeted by Murray.

He added: “On our day I believe this squad is capable of beating anyone in this league, even the teams who are spending x amount of money on new players.

“Spending big amounts of money obviously allows team to have greater depth within their squads, but we know that if we can pick up three or four wins in the remaining games we’ve got every chance.The belief is there and we should head into these games confident of getting the results we need.”

Clubs are still waiting to discover if Ottawa will enter League One in 2020 after Canadian Eric Perez, the founder of Toronto Wolfpack, was given permission to re-locate Hemel to the Canadian capital and enter next season’s competition.

RFL interim chairman Simon Johnson said. “Discussions are well advanced with Ottawa. We’ve got a board meeting towards the end of August when it’s on the agenda again.”