London Skolars v North Wales Crusaders – Match Preview

London Skolars didn’t have a fixture last week, so has the break benefited the team?

“I supposes we’ll find that out on Friday,” said coach Jermaine Coleman.

“At this time of the season I suppose it’s nice to have the week off. But on the flipside, we put in a decent performance against York and it probably would have been nice to go again and keep that momentum going. It’s a 50/50 I guess.”

Billed as Friday Night Lights, the annual fixture at the New River Stadium on the eve of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final has become one of the biggest games of the Skolars’ season.

“Given the position we are in this year, it’s our Grand Final,” said Coleman.

“It’s definitely something that the club looks forward to and it’s a big occasion on our calendar. It’s great to have North Wales because they bring a fantastic following with them, so I’m sure it will be a really good occasion.

“It was a good performance by them (against York City Knights). Anthony (Murray) has done a fantastic job to go up there with 16 players, losing a player injured, being 28-0 up at half-time and holding on for the win.

“It was an amazing result and they’ll come here full of confidence. But we’re coming off the back of a good result against York. I have lots of faith in the squad now and where we we’re going and the foundations we’re building for next season. We’ll be going into the game with high hopes and expecting to get a victory.”

Looking back on their 30-28 victory at York last week, North Wales coach Anthony Murray said: “It was a fantastic effort from the boys, especially going down there with just 16 players, and quite a few of them were carrying injuries. It was a fantastic achievement for us, but what a game it was for League 1 – it had everything. Fair play to York, I thought they were unfortunate in the second half not to come away with the two points, but full credit must go to our players for hanging in there and getting the job done.”

On Friday’s fixture he said: “This is a game I’m looking forward to. I’ve no doubt London will give us a real hard game. They seem to be ever-improving at the moment. They ran York really close, so they can definitely play and ran us close at our place earlier in the season, so I’m anticipating a really tough game.

“We’ll probably be in a similar position again with regards to numbers, so hopefully we can get another rallying response and get those two points to continue our push for the play-offs.”

A full report and photos from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express