CARL FORSTER says North Wales Crusaders are in a better place compared to 12 months ago as they prepare to open their League One season.

Issues with the club’s Stadiwm CSM base meant the Crusaders had to adopt a wandering existence in 2023, utilising five different grounds for their home matches.

Somehow, Crusaders used this adversity to their benefit as they made it all the way through to the grand final in the play-offs and head coach Forster has been focused on the positives during the run-in to the Cru’s League 1 opener at Cornwall on March 24.

He said: “I think we’re further along than we were last year. It’s a hard lesson when you’re getting beat.

“We are having really good periods in the game. But (against Widnes) from minute 16 to 24, we didn’t touch the ball. There’s a lot of things to work on.

“These new rules are killing us and killing the game, but we have got to get used to that.”

Four matches against Championship opponents have helped the Crusaders to fine-tune their preparations.

The last of these was a 30-14 defeat in their 1895 Cup clash against the Widnes Vikings.

Sunday’s 1895 Cup quarter-finals: Bradford Bulls v Swinton Lions; Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs; Wakefield Trinity v Barrow Raiders; York Knights v Oldham.