Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders down to the bare bones

By Graham Luney

Stephen Baxter has a few selection headaches to grabble with in the coming weeks — starting with tonight’s home clash with Dungannon Swifts.

The Crusaders boss knew his side had to escape injuries and lengthy suspensions to have a better chance of landing silverware this season but a nightmare afternoon on Saturday realised his worst fears.

Ryan McCann suffered a broken leg and is facing a long spell on the sidelines — but another of Baxter’s midfielders, Declan Caddell, along with striker David Rainey were sent off in the 5-3 Co-operative Insurance Cup win over Warrenpoint Town.

Both men serve an automatic one-match ban tonight with further suspensions to come down the road.

With Caddell and McCann both missing, Baxter has to dig deep into his reserves, with young David McMaster coming into the reckoning though Aiden Watson can play in central midfield. Rainey and Caddell were dismissed after getting involved in a bust-up.

“It is very disappointing to lose two players and the fact is we should not be in a situation where our players are getting sent off,” said Crues boss Stephen Baxter. “We always encourage our players to play within the rules of the game but I felt on this occasion the referee got it wrong.

“But these things happen in football and we have to deal with it. Ryan’s injury is a huge blow and we wish him a very speedy recovery.”

McCann would do well to listen to his midfield partner Chris Morrow, who is back playing again after suffering a broken leg.

Belfast Telegraph

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