When Stephen Baxter and Roy Walker get together it’s a mutual admiration society.
Baxter won two titles at Crusaders under Walker and both command respect as managers.
The former Linfield striker has moulded Crusaders into a top three side as painful memories of relegation scraps begin to fade from memory.
While at Warden Street, Walker has awakened a sleeping giant and injected fresh self-belief into a side which was sinking fast.
When the Sky Blues had a bumpy ride, Baxter knew that Walker was the right man to have at the wheel so he’s not surprised to see his mentor smiling again.
But only one man will be left smiling after this JJB Sports Irish Cup battle at the Showgrounds tomorrow.
“Roy is the master tactician and real motivator of people,” said Baxter.
“He will have his team well prepared for the game. I said when he was going through a tough spell he would come back and show everybody what he can do and he has done that.
He has got Ballymena United out of trouble in the league and they will get better and better. We will see that team improve no end in the next 18 months.
“We’ll look forward to the game and we have to pleased to be in the next round of the cup and third in the league.
“And when you see we have had a former Derry City captain (Eamon Doherty) on the bench you can see how our squad has got stronger.
“We get stripped for every match to win it whether it is the league or cup and these players have a wonderful attitude and will to win.”