Doncaster v North Wales Crusaders (Sunday, 3.00pm)
North Wales Crusaders will have to overcome the best home side in the League if they are to continue their charge into the play-offs.
The Wrexham-based side travel to already promoted Doncaster this Sunday (kick-off 3pm) knowing that a win will open up a four-point gap on London Skolars, who don’t have a game for another week, while Oldham Roughyeds who are two points behind Crusaders right now, also have a difficult match at home to Workington Town.
Clive Griffiths’ men travel to another promoted club, Whitehaven in their final game in September and he believes that his team can emulate Celtic Crusaders and South Wales Scorpions before them by qualifying for the play-offs in their first ever season.
Griffiths said: “It’s still a big ask because we’ve got two very good teams to play away from home, but there’s belief in the team now. We’re not discounting it, but we’re only whispering it.
“It’s between us, London and Oldham for that sixth spot. We probably need two points from these last fixtures to give ourselves a chance. It’s still a big ask, but crikey, who’d have predicted this at the start of the year?
“We collected hundreds of names at the start of the year and have built a team out of that. We’ve changed a few players here and there but it’s essentially the same set of players.
“We’ve seen bucketfuls of improvement throughout the season. Look at last week against London Skolars. We won that game 40-22 after losing at their place in only our second ever match 66-16. That’s a 68-point turnaround.
“We’re improving all the time, building on each game, taking the positives out of each performance and working on them. That’s the big thing for me, the turnaround since March and to beat London Skolars well last week was very pleasing.”
Griffiths says that he knows Doncaster more than he knows any other side in the League and that could be an advantage.
“I’ve watched Doncaster a lot this season, because they seem to be playing the teams we play the week before us,” he said. “There are only a few teams that can boast they’ve got someone like Paul Cooke at six, and Craig Fawcett is a fair player too. They’ve got quality at six, seven and nine, and Lee Waterman is tearing it up at full-back. We’ll go there with no pressure on us.”
Tony Miller’s Doncaster side can complete an unprecedented 100 per cent home record with victory against North Wales.
No Doncaster side has ever won every home game in a single season, but Miller’s men are now just 80 minutes away from a club first.
Toby Adamson and Danny Hulme could both return for sixth-placed Crusaders, who go into Sunday’s game knowing a place in the play-offs is in their own control.