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Baxter backs Crusaders to respond

Stephen Baxter has asked his Crusaders players to conduct a serious self-examination in the wake of back-to-back defeats in the Carling Premiership.

However, the Seaview boss isn’t losing sleep over the Crues’ recent downturn in fortunes as he prepares for a Co-operative Insurance Cup head to head at Portadown.

“We have hit a bump in the road but that is all,” he admits. “It is a long and winding road to the end of the season and I am not disheartened.”

Baxter is accentuating the positives from the midweek defeat at Coleraine and ensuring his players concentrate on how to correct the mistakes that were made.

“I have asked some of the players who are not performing to their best to take a long hard look at themselves and think how they can regain their form,” he said.

“I do think we are playing far too many games right now but that is something which is coming under scrutiny by managers and will be raised with the IFA.

“That said, I am looking forward to the Portadown game as a welcome break from the pressures of the league. We have beaten them twice this season so Ronnie McFall will have his players ready to do business, I’ve no doubt about that!”

Baxter believes his side displayed enough quality to have taken something from the Coleraine game on Tuesday but that result, on top of defeat at Ballymena the previous Saturday, has left him demanding his players bounce back.

“It is all about refocusing and redoubling the effort. I have faith in my players to deliver,” he added.

David Rainey missed the game at Coleraine after being suspended by the club for a breach of discipline but it appears peace has broken out at Seaview and the former Glentoran striker will be in the squad to take on Portadown.

Crusaders keeper Chris Keenan (suspension) and Eamon Doherty (hamstring) miss the game at Shamrock Park.

Belfast Telegraph


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