Belfast Telegraph

Hunter on the hunt for more medals at the Crues

County Antrim Shield

By Stuart McKinley

Andy Hunter is determined that his trophy winning days aren't over just because he has left Linfield.

The centre-half swapped south Belfast for the north of the city during last January's transfer window and now he wants to help bring silverware to Crusaders.

Hunter quit the Blues after growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities at Windsor Park and Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter wasted no time in taking him to Seaview.

The Shore Road native, however, wants more than just first-team football.

Hunter has Irish League championship, Irish Cup and a couple of County Antrim Shield medals in his collection from his time at Linfield and adding to those is his target as the Crues prepare to travel to Ballymena United tonight in this season's Shield semi-final.

"I didn't sign for Crusaders just to play more," said Hunter.

"I want to do well both for myself and the team and I have enjoyed being part of things on a Saturday afternoon again.

"I don't think my days of winning medals are over just because I'm no longer at Linfield. Why should they be?

"I said when I signed for Crusaders that there is a lot of talent in the squad. The good young players are maturing all the time and we've signed some mature players whose experience will benefit the squad.

" I am hoping to win things with Crusaders and hopefully that will start with the County Antrim Shield."

Tonight's game was scheduled to be played at the neutral venue of Lisburn Distillery's New Grosvenor ground. The competing clubs, however, agreed to toss a coin for home advantage, with the Braidmen calling correctly as they aim to make their second Shield decider in three seasons.

Hunter, however, doesn't believe Tommy Wright's side will carry that much of an advantage into the game.

" Once we get out onto the pitch it won't matter where it is," said Hunter.

"It could be the Ballymena Showgrounds, Seaview or Wembley. As long as our focus is right where we are playing won't mean a thing.

"I have played in semi-finals and finals for Linfield at Windsor Park when we have lost, so home advantage doesn't carry that much weight.

" You only have to look at last season's Irish Cup final at Windsor when Dungannon Swifts ran Linfield close, taking the match to penalties, to see that."

Hunter is waiting to see who his defensive partner is in tonight's game.

Loan signing Gary Smyth is cup tied having played for Glentoran in an earlier round.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph