Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Baxter insists Crusaders’ good run counts for nothing

Stephen Baxter is refusing to take anything for granted, despite Crusaders' fantastic Premiership form.

The Crues are looking to extend their winning streak to three games against Dungannon Swifts today at Seaview. The north Belfast club have only lost one of their last eight league encounters, but the Crusaders' manager believes there are no easy games in the Premiership this season.

“I knew the league would be a little bit more competitive this year, I felt that at the start of the season as the Ballymena's of this world have improved.

“We've lost to Glenavon, Dungannon and Portadown — games that I guess we were half expected to win, but we didn't. That tells you a lot about how competitive the division is year.

“There are no games that you're going into thinking it's just a case of picking up the three points. Every game in this league is hard fought and there will be shocks along the way, so we won't be taking anything for granted.”

Baxter believes that this is the most exciting Irish League in years, with a number of teams all with the potential to go on a good run of form.

“We've seen what Coleraine are capable of and Ballinamallard United have surprised everyone, it's brilliant for the league. And of course, you rule out Linfield at your peril.

“I'm sure they will be strong after Christmas, as they always are.”

Although his side are a full seven points behind Tommy Breslin's Cliftonville, Baxter hasn't given up hope of catching their north Belfast rivals.

“Cliftonville are the team in form at the moment. They've got two of the best strikers in the country, and two great strikers scoring goals can win you leagues.

“They're the team to stop at the moment and they're enjoying a great run of form, but there will be difficult hurdles for them to come this season.”

Seaview visitors Dungannon Swifts, currently sit in ninth place, are just seven points off the relegation zone.

The last time the two sides met was back in September at Stangmore Park — on that occasion the Swifts ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Emmet Friars and Josh Cahoon.

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