Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon can hurt Crusaders' title bid, insists Michael Carvill

By Adrian Rutherford

Michael Carvill has warned his Crusaders team-mates that their title hopes face a huge test against in-form Glenavon at Seaview tonight.

The Crues are on a five-match winning run as they chase a league and cup double. The Lurgan Blues, meanwhile, are unbeaten since November and dumped holders Glentoran out of the Irish Cup last weekend.

Carvill concedes they will be a real test of the Crues' growing confidence.

"They are in great form and have a lot of talented players, they will be a big test," he said.

"It's going to be a good game, it'll be tight, but we're at home which gives us an advantage.

"Obviously Glenavon have a vast array of players that we need to look out for, and we will need to be on top of our game.

"We just have to keep targeting three points in every game to keep up the momentum."

Crusaders are six points clear at the top.

They have led the way for most of the season, albeit their march to a second successive title was checked by a loss to Linfield on New Year's Day.

Carvill has been impressed with the Crues' response since - they have won all five games - and believes the Windsor Park defeat was a timely wake-up call.

"We slipped up against the Blues but since then our reaction has been first class - we've won every game," he added.

"When you lose you have to sit down and reflect, and it gives you an extra spur."

Carvill scored his first goal of the domestic season as the Crues won 3-1 at Dungannon in the Irish Cup last weekend.

They face either Carrick Rangers or Crumlin Star in the quarter-finals next month, and are closing in on a first Cup triumph since 2009.

However, Carvill says retaining their league title must take precedence.

"The cups are brilliant, but the league is the main priority," he admitted. "We'll focus on Cup games when they come around, because you want to win as many trophies as you can, but the league is the bread and butter."

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter has also called for focus.

"We are only into February and, while we have a six-point lead, that can evaporate very quickly," he said. "But it's up to us to keep producing."

Baxter, too, expects a tough test against Glenavon.

"They are scoring a lot of goals, but so are we, and we'll go into the game with high confidence," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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