Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Baxter fires up Crusaders for onslaught from wounded Linfield

Stephen Baxter will ask his Crusaders troops to repel a “Charge at the Alamo” at Windsor Park tonight.

The Seaview supremo has good reason to fear the full force of Linfield’s firepower in the Carling Premiership battle.

Crusaders were thumped 8-1 by the Blues in their last visit to the international venue and the rematch is given added spice by the champions suffering three straight defeats including a Shield final loss to Glentoran.

The visitors, who will be without their suspended skipper Colin Coates, will have to show the same fighting spirit they displayed when ten men stunned David Jeffrey’s side at Seaview in November.

“Rather than being a wounded animal we could see a “Charge at the Alamo” from Linfield,” said Baxter.

“Beware the wounded lion — they will come at us all guns blazing and try to make up for those defeats. They’ll be buoyed by their last performance against us up there and David (Jeffrey) will have his troops fired up to try and win the game but we can only prepare for what we have to do while David (Jeffrey) will make his decisions.

“It will be backs to the wall but we will give it our best as we always do. If our best is good enough we might get something, if it isn’t we won’t.”

Baxter admitted Coates’ absence will make their task more daunting.

“It’s a huge blow to lose your skipper,” he added. “But he stood on a boy (Ryan McCluskey) when he should have jumped clear and that has cost him dear. When you lose a player you just have to get on with it. We just have to patch up our team and get ready to play another big game.”

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