ANTHONY MURRAY says his nomination for League One’s ‘Coach of the Year’ award is testament to the progress made by North Wales Crusaders this season.

The Cru coach steered the Wrexham club to a seventh-placed finish last term, missing out on the play-offs by just three points.

Murray joins Whitehaven’s Gary Charlton and Oldham’s Scott Naylor on the three-man shortlist.

And the 42-year-old former Warrington and Leigh hooker admits he is flattered to to be considered for the accolade.

“I’m massively pleased to have my name put forward for it,” said Murray.

“I think the standard of coaches in League One is very high. A lot of us know each other well and I know that Gary and Scott are terrific coaches.

“They’ve both enjoyed brilliant seasons with their clubs and to be recognised alongside them is a real honour.

“It’s an individual award but this is recognition for all of the hard work done by the coaching staff, the physios, the directors and everyone involved behind the scenes.

“It’s been a real team effort this year and we’ve all worked hard to try to make this a successful season. Just being nominated for these awards helps to boost the club’s profile and brings some positive light to what we’ve done here.”

Murray highlighted the Cru’s Challenge Cup exit against amateur side Thatto Heath Crusaders in March as a turning point.

Murray’s men were downed 16-14 by the National Conference League side before embarking on a solid league campaign that yielded wins against the likes of champions Whitehaven and top six sides Doncaster and Workington.

“The Thatto Heath defeat was the low point of the season for me,” said Murray.

“We could have let our heads go down after it, but we didn’t. We worked even harder to overcome that adversity and took responsibility for our own performances. That hard work showed in the performances we produced in the league this year and I was proud of how the players responded.”

Former Cru loanee Callum Hazzard has been nominated for League One’s Young Player of the Season honour.

As part of a dual-registration agreement with St Helens, the 21-year-old turned out 12 times for the Cru and scored five tries before his return to the Super League club.

Murray added: “Callum was great to work with and a real example of how well dual-reg can work between clubs. He came in with the right attitude and workrate and was a mainstay in our first team and fully deserves this award.”

The winners will be announced at the Betfred Championship and League 1 Awards Night at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on Tuesday, September 24.