Belfast Telegraph

Carvill's appetite for titles not sated

By Graham Luney

When Glentoran arrive at Solitude this afternoon for the NI Hospice Charity Shield, it will be a case of 'look at what you could have won'.

The Glens were in the race to land Michael Carvill and Andy Mitchell but Danske Bank Premiership champions Crusaders netted the dynamic duo.

Both men are fantastic signings by Crues boss Stephen Baxter, whose squad has never been stronger with the assault on all trophies beginning in north-Belfast today.

Former Rangers starlet Mitchell and Carvill - winner of three doubles at Linfield - dazzled in the Shore Road outfit's Champions League clashes.

Winger Carvill grabbed the crucial away goal to secure progress against Levadia Tallinn and he's keen to sparkle on the big stage again with the Hatchetmen.

At Windsor Park he was overlooked on several occasions by Blues boss Warren Feeney but it hasn't taken him long to show he will be a valuable asset to the champions.

And the 27-year-old has too much experience in the Irish League to start dismissing teams when the race for the Gibson Cup starts next Saturday.

"I think the title race is wide open and Linfield should be there every year, regardless of their managerial situation or anything else - they should be challenging," said Carvill.

"That's a given and you will have teams with big aspirations like Glentoran, on a high after winning the Irish Cup, and Portadown, who underachieved with the squad they had. Glenavon were the form team near the end of last season.

"I've a lot of respect for Tommy Breslin at Cliftonville and I know they have lost Joe Gormley but he's been given a chance to further his career and it reflects very well on the club.

"They still have strong players and you would never write off a team that won back-to-back titles.

"It would be naive of me to pick out one team as a main challenger when many sides pose big threats."

The move across Belfast certainly doesn't signal the end of Carvill's trophy winning days.

In fact, at the age of 27, the former Wrexham man should be striding into his best years as a player.

Crusaders will offer him the platform to capture more silverware - starting with today's Charity Shield showdown.

"I've always been an admirer of the Crusaders team from outside looking in," he added.

"They won the league last year but over the last few seasons they could have won more trophies.

"They've always had a strong squad and it's looking very good on paper again this season.

"We have depth and quality all over the park and some people may say that is a negative thing but in my successful days at Linfield we had strong squads.

"Managing the changing room the right way kept the team together. As long as boys are up for the fight and are competitive then you will be rewarded. You know you will be needed at some point and the club need to have a good squad to push on. No one is guaranteed football. Hopefully we can enjoy good times together."

Cliftonville legend Barry Johnston has left Solitude and agreed to join Premiership new boys Carrick Rangers.

Gary Haveron's side will be looking to consolidate their place in the top flight and Johnston's quality and experience will give them greater hope of achieving that goal.

The midfielder, who helped the north-Belfast side win back-to-back league titles as well as three League Cups on the bounce, has agreed a one-year deal with Rangers.

Carrick have also signed Gary Browne, Mark Miskimmin, Mark Surgenor, Joe McNeill and goalkeeper Chris Keenan while Conor McCloskey, Aaron Traynor and Miguel Chines have agreed new deals.

Belfast Telegraph


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