ANDY MOULSDALE has praised the leadership of player-coach Carl Forster with North Wales Crusaders just one more win away from a play-off final.

Victories versus Workington Town and Oldham have seen the Crusaders reach the semi-final of the League 1 play-offs, with a trip to league runners-up Hunslet next up.

Speaking to CruCast, Crusaders’ CEO Andy Moulsdale said: “I’m pleased for Carl. It’s been a tough few weeks and few months and I’m just delighted.”

It has been a stunning turnaround from the Cru, who lost their first six league matches of the campaign.

However, victories versus Doncaster and London Skolars at the end of the campaign saw Crusaders make sure of a top-six spot and they have been immense in the play-offs.

They trailed Oldham by 12 points at half-time last weekend, but tries from skipper Callum Hazzard and Matt Fletcher helped Cru to draw level, before Toby Hughes won it with a last minute drop goal.

Moulsdale added: “Obviously, the way he (Forster) has played all year has been great and the last couple of weeks especially he’s stepped up.

“You know, had a lot of questions over the last couple of weeks when things don’t go right, you know should he be coaching and playing and I get that.

“You open yourself up to it, but I think when it goes right, he deserves the plaudits as well, because he has led from the front and I’m pretty sure if you ask all the lads that are playing with him, they’d rather have him on the pitch while they can... than on the sideline.

“Just made up for him and made up for the lads and made up for all the fans.”

Meanwhile, club chairman Ian Edwards says the Crusaders have found form at just the right time in the play-offs.

He said: “In the past, we’ve sort of been strong in the early part of the season and then faded towards the end and we’ve sort of hit the play-offs at the wrong time.

“We’ve had players not being available. You know, we’re not getting carried away... but I do feel that this year, we’re perhaps on a different trajectory.

“That we’re coming into a bit of form at the right time and getting players back at the right time.”

This is a view echoed by Moulsdale, who said: “Me and Carl spoke weeks ago, if not months ago and we always felt that if we could get in the play-offs, given the start we had to the season, it was always going to be tough to finish any higher than sixth realistically.

“But we always thought that if we could get in the play-offs with people coming back and the people that we’ve brought in, that we could go okay in the play-offs, because the last couple of years we’ve finished third and it’s felt a bit we’ve ran out of steam or there’s not been the same zip.”

All eyes now turn to Sunday’s huge encounter at Hunslet.

The North Wales Crusaders Foundation has announced it is offering free coach travel to supporters looking to make the trip.