League 1 preview: Oldham v North Wales Crusaders

A poor first half performance against Keighley Cougars last week led to Oldham’s defeat according to coach Scott Naylor: “We didn’t show up in the first half and decided to show up in the second half, which was a pity because the game was already over by half-time,” he said. “It’s a game we threw away but you’ve got to give Keighley credit, they came out firing with intensity and passion. It was their day but we didn’t’ give them the game I was hoping we would, which was disappointing.

“That’s Keighley and Barrow, two tough places we’ve been to and not really given a good account of ourselves.

“The last time we played North Wales Crusaders they beat us. We all know they’re the favourites to go back up again. They’ve got quality all over the field and some ex-Oldham players, which will be an added incentive for them and they’ve brought in some experience with people like Wildie (Stephen Wild). They’re probably the best complete package in the league when you look at them as a team.

“I think it’s the best game we could play after Keighley because I wouldn’t like to play someone who we were expected to beat. Against North Wales we’re probably expected to lose. We need to challenge ourselves after the Keighley game to prove to people and ourselves we are capable of beating these teams and challenging for the top of this division.”

Fullback Stephen Nield is a doubt with a knee injury.

Looking back on the win against London Skolars, Anthony Murray, the North Wales Crusaders coach said: “It was a tough game and to be fair I didn’t expect anything less. They are making some improvements under Jermaine Coleman. Obviously they’re a big set (of forwards) and have added some strength in depth there.

“I knew we would have a little bit of a cup hangover and fair play to London, we got out of jail and managed to get the two points but they certainly pushed us all the way. We defended our hearts out to win.

“Oldham will be looking to get a little bit of revenge after us dumping them out of the cup at their place. They’re still near the top of the table and have had some good wins so it’s going to be a real tough ask for us going over to Whitebank but hopefully we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”