The games are suddenly coming thick and fast for Crusaders but they aren't firing on all cylinders as they go into tonight's crunch Setanta Sports Cup second leg battle with Cork City at Seaview (7.45pm).
Suspensions, injuries and quickfire matches have forced boss Stephen Baxter (pictured) into making several changes but, since the league outing with Cliftonville was postponed, the Shore Road men have been a little off colour.
A draw at home to Dungannon Swifts hammered a nail into their title challenge and they are perhaps a little fortunate to still be in the Irish Cup after Lisburn Distillery gave them a fright. The replay will kick off on next Tuesday night at Ballyskeagh.
Cork hold a 1-0 advantage in the Setanta tie and Crues skipper Colin Coates acknowledges his side must give themselves a shake if they want to hold on to the prize they captured in memorable fashion last year.
"I think the manager did have one eye on the Cork game, maybe he rested one or two players," said Coates. "We want to do well in the Setanta Cup and we just have to deal with the number of games no matter how difficult it is.
"The boys did well down in Cork and we will give it a good go. The games in this competition last year were very good. I'm looking forward to it, I think it's a great competition and I think all Irish League teams should strive to do well in it."
Crusaders needed a first half equaliser from Timmy Adamson to hit back after a header from Aaron Boyd.