Crusaders wary of Braidmen’s bite
Crusaders may still be basking in the glory of their comfortable win at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Tuesday night, but Stephen Baxter is taking nothing for granted on his quick return to the Braid.
Two goals from Chris Morrow eased his side to victory in the Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final, but Baxter knows that with Roy Walker rollicking still ringing in their ears, the Sky Blues could be a very different proposition tomorrow.
“You’ve got to be careful with how it can bite you back,” he admitted.
“We did this before in the Co. Antrim Shield (against Ballymena) and then came up here in a back-to-back game and lost, so you take nothing for granted.
“I know the pedigree of this team and I know the quality of Ballymena and they’ll be hurting. They will want to come out and make amends on Saturday and we’ll have to be careful of that and get ready for another huge game.”
Michael Halliday and David Rainey were given roles on the bench on Tuesday, while suspended duo Colin Coates and Gareth McKeown sat things out.
Coates is still suspended tomorrow, but the other three are expected to return although with so many matches in a short space of time, Baxter admits it can be a headache juggling his options.
“It can be difficult with injuries and suspensions to a lot of key players,” he said.
“That’s what it’s all about at this level of football and you need key players fit at the right times and while players came in and did well on Tuesday, there were players who did really well on Saturday who had to sit out.
“You take everything into consideration and we work with a panel of players and we’ll see what’s available to us.”
Morrow is likely to be the first name on the teamsheet though, but like his manager, the talented midfield ace knows that the Crues will be up against a wounded animal.
“It’s going to be another battle and we’re going to have to grit our teeth and grind out another result,” he said.