Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton should be playing: Baxter

By Graham Luney

Stephen Baxter is surprised Gary Hamilton has entered the management game at the tender age of 31 — but not because of his lack of coaching experience.

The Crues boss shares the view of many in the Irish League that the five-times capped Northern Ireland player remains one of the game’s finest strikers and there is no reason why he should consider halting the lifetime habit of giving defences nightmares.

Baxter takes his Crusaders side to Mourneview Park tonight (7.45) aiming to be party poopers as the former Glentoran striker makes his managerial bow at home.

Former Linfield striker Baxter is one of a number of former players who have tried their luck in the managerial business.

“Obviously Gary has got Glenavon in his heart so that is a big positive from the off,” said Baxter.

“When you have a manager like that who will want to go and motivate his players there is always a chance they will improve.

“Gary was there last season so he knows the players and the system.

“I’m a little bit surprised that he has come into management early because he still is one of the top strikers in the country.

“Gary still possesses the ability to win football matches on his own. Now that he’s trying to be player-manager it will be an interesting challenge because the job is difficult enough without having to contribute on the pitch as well.

“Gary’s been in England, knows the game, knows players and I’m sure he will take on the job with a lot of enthusiasm and endeavour to do well and good luck to him.”

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