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North Wales Crusaders’ Kenny Baker is aiming for success in 2019 after hailing the ‘great atmosphere around the camp’ as the squad returned to pre-season training.

A firm favourite with Crusaders fans, Baker has enjoyed an impressive rise since arriving in Wrexham from the amateur game and he now his his sights set on success in 2019: “I think that pre-season this year is a lot tougher, and everyone is really buying into it.

“Hopefully that leads to a strong season and we can push on for those play-off places which is where we want to be come the end of the season.”

Having finished 2018 second in the club’s try scoring table, Baker is also hoping to continue his personal development: “It would be great to go one better in 2019 and get that top try scorer award, but at the end of the day it’s all about winning and helping the team in whatever way possible.”

Having returned to pre-season training with the squad two weeks ago Baker praised the effort and the facilities available: “I think the effort from all the lads has been outstanding in every session.

“The new boys that have come in have fitted in really well and to be honest it feels like they have been here for years – we’ve got a really close group for 2019.

“Everyone is giving 100% in training and then we are also enjoying ourselves afterwards; having a good laugh and also some good group bonding which all helps.”

He added: “The facilities available to us are also a massive help, we’ve had a session down at Queensway which was good for the new lads to get used to the pitch there and we are also enjoying the use of the facilities at Widnes Vikings and Wild Bull Fitness.

“I think that we are in a really good place going forward.”

Baker also admitted that his role in the squad will change for 2019 due to the new arrivals: “I’ve been there myself, he said.

“Coming into a new squad and not really knowing anyone, so I’ve tried to ensure the new lads are settling really well and getting to know everyone.

“I am just trying to look out for them, give them a pat on the back when they do something good, but also point out areas where I think they can improve.”

North Wales Crusaders will take to the field for the first time in 2019 on Sunday 20th January when we travel to Heywood Road to take on Betfred Championship side Swinton Lions in a pre-season friendly.