NORTH WALES CRUSADERS will travel to the Prince Of Wales Stadium on Saturday to take on the University Of Gloucestershire All Golds for the third time this season.
Having already traveled to Cheltenham for a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie and a League 1 Cup semi-final, Mike Grady’s squad will now travel down for a third time, this time in the league.
Ahead of Saturday’s clash, Grady believes that facing the same opponents three times provides an extra-challenge for his players: “It’s a very strange situation, we’ve prepared for this game three times now.
“Some tactics will change for both sides and you’ll spot more things from the videos. However, the main strong points and weaknesses will be the same from both sides.
“Gloucester have won one and so have we and I think that points to Saturday being a close game.
“I’m personally happy that we’ve progressed in League 1 Cup as that gives us a shot at some silverware, but I can imagine that the All Golds squad will be hurting after that semi-final defeat so we have to be switched on and as up for this game as they will be.”
The Crusaders go into Saturday’s game on the back of a 36-26 defeat away to Hunslet, a result which Grady was disappointed with: “In some of our defeats earlier in the season you could see that we were well beaten and that we hadn’t quite gelled yet. However, last weekend was different.
“We didn’t play well but we were only ten points off Hunslet who are a very strong side. We honestly felt like we could and should have come away from that game with the two points.”
Saturday’s trip to the Prince Of Wales Stadium kicks-off a vital period for Grady and his squad, something which Grady acknowledges: “It’s a very important period in the league where there are a lot of teams which are fighting in and around that top-eight and so we want to stay with them and stay in the mix.
“I think that the next few rounds are going to shape how the league goes. We’ve got two games against All Golds and London Skolars respectively where we’ve got to look to pick up points.
“They won’t be easy games and I’m sure that they’ll be very close but if we compete for a full 80 minutes and match the benchmark which we have shown glimpses of this season, then we’ll have every chance.”
Grady is also hopeful of more players returning from injuries over the coming weeks: “We’ve been boosted by Earl [Hurst], Blake Turner, Warren Thompson and Dale Bloomfield returning last week and Kenny Baker is not far off.
“We also have Joe Bate who signed mid-week who we hopefully be available for selection subject to RFL approval.”