Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders keeper Keenan will show his class: Coates

By Graham Luney

Colin Coates has backed goalkeeper Chris Keenan to bounce back from his Windsor Park nightmare.

The Crusaders number one was beaten eight times by a rampant Linfield side on Monday night and his confidence must have taken a battering but his skipper feels that all the players have to come out fighting.

Keenan will be haunted by the 8-1 hammering this Halloween but Coates feels the shot-stopper can exorcise his demons.

“Chris is 23-years-old and he has been brilliant for us for the last few years,” said the Northern Ireland international.

“He has done a really good job for us and although he didn’t have the greatest night at Windsor, none of us can say we did.

“The defence in front of him let him down and it’s up to all of us to learn from the experience and become better players for it.

“The best players in the world have dips in form or bad nights and it was one of those games when we were very poor and Linfield played very well.

“But we win and lose collectively as a team and it is up to all the players to win matches and keep confidence levels high.”

Crues boss Stephen Baxter and his players had a clear the air meeting on Tuesday night and no doubt it was an uncomfortable post-mortem after the Windsor debacle.

Up next is a Co-operative Insurance Cup clash at home to Loughgall on Saturday — perhaps a welcome break from the week-to-week rigours of the Carling Premiership.

The Crues have conceded 13 goals in two league games with Monday’s demolition job following on from Friday’s 5-4 defeat to Donegal Celtic.

“After our worst performance of the season against Linfield the time has come to regroup,” added Coates.

“We are looking forward to Saturday’s game and hopefully returning to winning ways.

“There is no crisis here, we just have to get back to playing the way we know we can. Our defence has not been as strong as recent seasons but we have to put that right.”

\[Peter Hutcheon\]The introduction of a 16-team Premier Division is their main aim, but a vote in favour of switching back to a winter campaign was passed by 12 votes to nine.

</>Summer football was introduced in 2003, and is credited with delivering improved results in European competition.

However, a number of regional clubs feel their crowds have dropped due to clashes with the GAA, holidays and alternative attractions.

They believe moving the calendar back in line with the UK might also remove player registration problems.

Belfast Telegraph


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