MIKE Grady’s North Wales Crusaders will travel to take on Coventry Bears at the Butts Park Arena this Sunday, in what will be both sides’ final game before the league splits.

After seeing his side draw with second placed Whitehaven last weekend, Grady admitted that he was left with mixed emotions: “Last week was a very strange one, he said.

“We’ve come away after holding Whitehaven to a draw but are still disappointed and that’s because of the situation were in with regards to our top eight chances.

“With Keighley managing to also draw, that means that they’ve kept eighth position going into the final weekend – but only on points difference.

“On any other day we’d have been delighted to take a point against Whitehaven so we have to take positives from the performance.

“If we miss out on the top eight, then it’s not down to the result last weekend, but the narrow defeats against All Golds, Hunslet and Workington.

“The heavy defeats at the start of the season have also left us with a poor points difference.”

He added: “The start of the season was difficult and I think that came because of the change of personnel.

“We’ve had new coaches and players come in and I think that it took longer than we thought for everything to gel.

“But, we’re there now and we can play some very entertaining rugby.

“Wherever we finish after Sunday’s game, we’ll aim for a strong second half of the season – whether that be competing in the top eight or looking to win the League 1 Shield.”

On Sunday’s opponents, Coventry Bears, Grady said: “They are a side that you can’t afford to underestimate.

“Yes, they’ve probably not done as well as they’d have hoped to, but if you go there thinking that it’s just going to be an easy game then they’ll make you pay for it.

“We have to be mindful of that, and we have to show Coventry the respect they deserve if we hope to get anything out of the game.”

Even if the Crusaders win on Sunday, they would need other results to go their way in order to finish eighth, however, Grady said that he won’t be worrying about results elsewhere: “As I’ve touched on before, we’ll focus on ourselves and the job at hand.

“Whatever happens elsewhere will happen, we can’t do anything to change that and so we’ll wait to see where we end up and go from there.

“This side has plenty of potential, so if we’re in the bottom half then we’ll look to win the League 1 Shield and continue to improve.

“In the long term I think we have a side which isn’t too far off being a top four side, but we’ll take each game as it comes and our focus is now on Coventry this weekend.”

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