NORTH WALES CRUSADERS coach Anthony Murray has called on his side to finish the season with a flourish today.

The Cru, whose League One play-off hopes were scuppered by a defeat at Newcastle last week, sign off from action against London Skolars at the Queensway Stadium.

Sat in seventh position, Crusaders take on a London side just a point behind them in eighth.

And despite falling short in a bid to join the promotion-hopefuls, Murray insists that finishing as the ‘best of the rest’ would still represent a productive campaign.

“Finishing seventh would be a solid achievement for us this season”, he said.

“Yes we were disappointed not get that sixth spot, which we thought was a realistic target this season.

“But as a club and as a squad we’ve made good progress this year and it’s something we can hopefully continue to build on.

“We know London will come here desperate to turn us over and finish seventh themselves. But we want to finish on a high now with a big performance and a home win.”

It was the Skolars who inflicted one of the Cru’s narrowest early-season defeats, avenging an earlier loss in the Challenge Cup with a 19-18 home success in March.

The two clubs boast a near-identical record after 19 games this term, with the Cru edging ahead by virtue of their nine league victories to Skolars’ eight.

A disappointing slump has cost Jermaine Coleman’s side dear, however, with Skolars losing each of their last eight league games.

Despite their loss of form Murray has generally been impressed by Skolars this year and expects a tough encounter in their final day showdown.

He added: “Like us I think they’ve come very close to establishing themselves as a top-half side, particularly in the first half of the season.They’ve got a very good coach in Jermaine and they make very good use of their dual-reg arrangement with Wigan.

“Results haven’t gone their way lately, but they’ve only lost by a point to strong sides like Oldham and Doncaster and there wasn’t much in it when they got beat by Hunslet.We won’t be taking them lightly at all because they’re a very capable side on their day.”

As well as consolidating the club’s league position, Murray insists that victory would also be a ‘fitting send off’ for three retiring players.

After making 167 appearances in eight seasons with the Cru, second row Jonny Walker will play his final game along with Alex Thompson and Stephen Wild.

Murray added: ““Jonny has been with Crusaders since the very start and the amount of effort he has put in for the club shows exactly what we’re all about.

“He’ll give you more than 100 per cent every time he goes out on the pitch and he’s been a big part of what the club have achieved over the years.

“Alex has been a pleasure to work with and, when he’s on form, you can see the effect he has on the rest of the team.

“He’s another player who it’s clear it means a lot to when he wears the Crusaders shirt.

“Stephen is an ultimate professional and the leadership qualities he shows out on the pitch are second to none.

“He came to the club after playing at the highest level for many years and his experience has been crucial for us ever since.

“It would be great to see plenty of fans get down to Queensway, enjoy the game and give these lads the send off they deserve.”

Whitehaven can wrap up the League One title by avoiding defeat at Coventry today, while tomorrow’s games see second-placed Oldham visit Hunslet, Keighley host Newcastle, and Doncaster go to Workington.