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Crues' Baxter gives blessing for Robinson to hunt Fleetwood deal

By Graham Luney

Published 26/02/2016

Josh Robinson will go on trial at Fleetwood Town
Josh Robinson will go on trial at Fleetwood Town

Crusaders' Josh Robinson could be set to leave for League One side Fleetwood Town if a trial proves successful next month.

There is strong interest in the Crues centre-back from the Lancashire club managed by former Scotland international Steven Pressley.

Linfield are also keen to sign Robinson but the former Rangers starlet remains keen to return to the full-time game in England or Scotland.

Another two League One sides and one Scottish Premier League club are watching developments but Town, who are in 20th place in League One, are in pole position to net the former Northern Ireland Under-21 defender. The 22-year-old, a nephew of former Linfield goalkeeper George Dunlop, joined the Crues in August 2012 and remains on course to celebrate back-to-back title triumphs.

Crues boss Stephen Baxter said: "Josh has expressed an interest in getting back to full-time football.

"When we spoke to him Josh indicated he was happy to keep playing for Crusaders but he was looking at the cross-channel option and it's a case of seeing whether he can progress at that level.

"We have facilitated him in that regard and will allow him to go to Fleetwood next month.

"Then it will be a case of seeing how he copes with the standard over there. I can understand his desire to play full-time football but he needs to know himself how capable he will be at that level.

"If it does not work out for Josh across the water then we are delighted to have him here and he was offered a new contract four months ago. He simply wants to explore another opportunity and as he's a little older now than his last time in Scotland with Rangers it's a different challenge for him."

Robinson's agent Lee Mudd said: "Josh is still hopeful of playing in full-time football and this is an opportunity that may achieve that. We are confident that there will be no disruption to Crusaders' season and Josh remains totally committed to the Crues."

After landing a title knockout blow on Cliftonville last weekend, Crues players and fans are hoping their famous supporter, Carl Frampton, can silence Scott Quigg in tomorrow's World super-bantamweight title unification fight. Keeper Sean O'Neill is the only Crues player making the journey to Manchester after the Premiership clash at Warrenpoint Town tomorrow.

"I'll be flying out of Dublin with my friend Gerard Cairns and arrive in Liverpool at about 8.45pm where my sister Deborah will pick us up and then we are on the road for Manchester," said O'Neill. "I'll be meeting up with a lot of my pals from the Falls Road and Jeff Spiers will also be there."

Crusaders' rearranged Premiership clash at Carrick Rangers will kick off on Tuesday, March 22 (7.45pm).

HE has taken on former Real Madrid managers Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti plus current Barcelona supremo Luis Enrique in Spain and on Sunday, ex-Levante boss Lucas Alcaraz will be in Belfast to deliver a coaching clinic to players and coaches.

Organised by Tim Wareing from the TW Sports coaching school, Alcaraz will be at Cregagh Sports Club to conduct a coaching session which will focus on the topic 'Tactics in Professional Football…Why Not Kids?'

He will finish with a Q and A about his career and tactics.

Alcaraz began coaching with Granada CF in 1995 at the age of 29 and has since managed a host of other sides in his native Spain including Recreativo de Huelva, who were promoted to La Liga and reached a Copa del Rey final under him. He left his last job at Levante in 2015 and is hoping to return to management.

If you wish to attend contact Tim Wareing on 07740120788 or email tim@twsports.org

Belfast Telegraph

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