Belfast Telegraph

Leeman still hungry for success with Crusaders

By Stuart McKinley

Paul Leeman is refusing to believe that his summer exit from Glentoran means that he won’t add any further medals to his bulging collection.

The ex-Glens captain has won everything the local game has to offer — with four league titles and four Irish Cups along the way.

And two years after winning the League Cup for the fifth time in his career, Leeman now wants the IRN-BRU League Cup to be his first trophy success as a Crusaders player.

Last season was the first in three years that the Crues ended without some silverware to show for their efforts, although they were 12 minutes away from beating Linfield in the Irish Cup final before losing 2-1.

With Glentoran, Linfield and Portadown out of the competition, the path to the first senior trophy of the season isn’t as difficult as it can be — although the Crues must travel to Ballymena United for this evening’s IRN-BRU League Cup semi-final.

“The challenge that appealed to me when I signed for Crusaders was the club is capable of competing for trophies,” said Leeman.

“We have a chance to take a step into a final and it’s one that we want to take.

“I’ve played in a lot of semi-finals and it’ll be a bit strange playing it on someone else’s home ground, but that is the way it is and we’ll be prepared for it.

“Ballymena should have a good crowd there and hopefully the Crusaders fans will travel to support us and hopefully help us get to the final.”

Ballymena may not be in the best of form, but Scottish striker Gary McCutcheon continues to be in good form in front of goal, with 17 in the league alone making him the top local marksman.

“For Gary McCutcheon to have scored the goals he has done in a team that is in the lower half of the league is fantastic,” said Leeman.

“We obviously need to try to find a way to keep him quiet if we want to get to the finals — and we do.”

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