NORTH WALES CRUSADERS must use their impressive record against League One’s top sides as motivation for this weekend’s pivotal clash at Newcastle Thunder, says Anthony Murray.

The Wrexham-based Cru sit seventh in the table after a solid campaign, but must win their remaining two fixtures to force their way into the play-off reckoning.

And head coach Murray insists his side must play with belief and quality to realise their ambitions.

“We’ve beaten some very good sides this season,” said Murray.

“We’ve taken points off the likes of Workington and Doncaster, which just shows were capable of competing against anyone in this league.

“We’re also the only team to have gone to Whitehaven and won. That should gives us all the belief and confidence we need for the two tough games we’ve got left.”

With just over a week of the regular season remaining, the Cru must claw back a three-point deficit on Workington Town.

And while a top-six finish would now depend on favourable results elsewhere, Murray believes the pressure is all on their league rivals this weekend.

He added: “We know what we’ve got to do and as long as it’s still mathematically possible we’ll keep fighting for it.

“The message to the players is that they should be proud of themselves after what they’ve achieved this season and I want them to go out against Newcastle and enjoy the game.

“As far as we’re concerned, all the pressure is on Newcastle and Workington this weekend.

“Newcastle will want to finish as high as they can to get a better draw in the play-offs, and Workington are travelling to a very good Hunslet side.”

Thunder inflicted the Cru’s heaviest defeat this term when they ran out 48-12 winners at the Queensway Stadium in June.

But Murray’s side have savoured away victories at Kingston Park previously, edging to a 24-20 success last season.

Murray added: “It’s a big ask for us to go there and take the points.

“On paper, Newcastle are an excellent side with a lot of quality. There’s players in there with a lot of Championship and Super League experience.

“When we lost to them earlier in the season - the better team won on the day and we had no complaints.

“We made far too many unforced errors and got punished for them - that’s what the best teams do to you. So we know we have to start well and nullify their threats early in the game and give the best possible account of ourselves.

“They were ahead against Oldham in their last game but ended up getting beaten, so I’m sure they’ll be looking to put that right against us.”

League leaders Whitehaven could wrap up the title this weekend if results elsewhere go their way.

The Cumbrians will secure top spot and promotion to the Championship if they beat West Wales Raiders and second-placed Oldham fail to win at Coventry.

Hunslet and Doncaster’s play-off spots are already confirmed, with the Yorkshire clubs set to host Workington and Keighley respectively.