Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Crusaders boss Baxter staying cool on plans to beat the big freeze

Stephen Baxter remains unconcerned at the prospect of the season being extended in May.

Even Crusaders with their new 4G pitch could not defeat the weather at the weekend, as the snow made Seaview and the Shore Road an unsafe environment for fans.

Tonight’s Sky TV game between Cliftonville and Glentoran has also been postponed and a question marks hang over rearranged matches for tomorrow night — Glenavon v Portadown, Linfield v Coleraine and Newry City v Dungannon Swifts.

Fixture planners may have to extend the season to the end of May, but Crues supremo Baxter isn’t panicking at the prospect.

“We’ll of course we’re a team of part-time players and we’d be anxious to get everything wrapped up by the beginning of May, but with this backlog of fixtures who knows?,” he said.

“It’s out of our hands really — it’s one of those unusual seasons which come along now and again — I think the last bad one was around 1981, but the mood here is good. We’re getting in the new floodlights, the pitch has proved an outstanding success, we’re a progressive club and setting the pace in many ways so we’ll see how things turn out.

“It’s always disappointing to see a game called off — when it doesn't happen it deflates us; players, backroom staff and the fans.”

Crusaders are still sitting at the top of the Carling Premiership, but their title rivals have games in hand.

“It can be an advantage to have points in the bank, but we're hardly in that top position yet,” added Baxter.

“We're four points ahead of Glentoran, but they've two games in hand. We’re five in front of the Blues who’ve three in hand.

“The Reds too have three games in hand and are six behind us. We’re top yes, but we could easily be overtaken.”

There has been speculation that Mark Dickson could leave Seaview to make way for Andy Smith’s arrival, but Baxter said ‘Dicko’ was staying put.

“As far as I’m concerned Mark Dickson is staying here, absolutely,” added Baxter.

“He’s doing well, he gets a pain killing injection into the knee joint which gives him total relief.

“Mark’s an exceptional talent, a top player and very much in our plans for the future.”

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