DAVE ARTELL insists that going toe-to-toe with a Connah’s Quay Nomads side focused on the Champions League was the ideal game for Crewe.

Nomads have been back in training for three weeks ahead of their first ever foray into Europe’s premier club competition, facing Cymru Premier rivals Barry Town United on Saturday at Colliers Park.

Andy Morrison’s men followed that up with a trip to League One Crewe, who have not long been back in training, but boss Artell relished the challenge as his side ran out 3-1 winners.

“I thought it was a really tough challenge,” said former Wrexham and Chester defender Artell.

“Thanks to Andy, Craig (Harrison), Jay (Catton) and the rest of the staff for bringing Connah’s Quay here.

“They are a couple of weeks ahead of us in terms of their fitness and their schedule because they’ve got a big game coming up at the end of the month in the Champions League.

“It was a tough, physical battle. I’d say it’s a really good first game. Normally we try and ease them in against higher league opposition, or a team that might try and play a bit more football.

“It wasn’t that kind of game. It was definitely a case of ‘you’ve got to be ready because it’s coming’ type of thing and it was a good test for us.”

Midfielder Callum Morris placed a composed finish beyond Will Jaaskelainen to hand Nomads a first-half lead, while Declan Poole forced the stopper, son of former Wrexham coach Jussi, into action.

Crewe changed their entire starting XI at the interval and the move paid off for Artell’s men, who found the net three times without reply through Charlie Kirk, Daniel Powell, Callum Ainley.

“That’s what pre-season friendlies are for - to get up to speed,” said Artell, who watched Nomads dominate the opening 45 minutes as his Crewe side found their feet.

“You could tell (they were further ahead of us), especially in the first-half, but that’s not a problem and I said to the players that it’s about minutes under the belt.”