Belfast Telegraph

Crues bid for title knock-out but 'Blues will fight on'

By Graham Luney

Michael Carvill has warned his Crusaders team-mates that Linfield won't give up the title fight. Carvill spent seven years at Windsor Park where he was well educated on the club's winning mentality.

He scored 55 goals in 288 appearances for the Blues, winning three league titles during his time in south Belfast.

The 28-year-old former Wrexham man now has another league winner's medal in his sights after helping Stephen Baxter's side stay at the summit of the domestic game last season.

But he also knows that his former employers won't accept second best and even though the champions hold a seven points lead over David Healy's side, Carvill admits there is little margin for error.

The Crues - whose biggest fan Carl Frampton goes for world title boxing glory in Las Vegas this weekend - have found another gear at a crucial moment by securing vital league wins over Ards, Glentoran and Cliftonville this month.

And the Shore Road side will need to keep their foot on the gas with Glenavon up next at Mourneview Park tomorrow (3pm).

"A club like Linfield and the resources they have, they will be raging if they aren't in the title race right to the end," admitted Carvill.

"The onus is on them to get another trophy and they have strengthened the squad to do that.

"It's up to them to keep pushing on but it's also up to us to stay ahead of them and try to win another title.

"I think the words 'seven points gap' isn't being mentioned by anyone. I think if anyone mentions that or talks about the title race we switch off from it. If we start thinking about seven points, before you know it that lead is gone and then the pressure increases.

"What we are focusing on is Glenavon away on Saturday. We always find it difficult down there and we are expecting another very tough game. We should just be focusing on the next challenge and then moving on."

Crusaders won a bruising north Belfast derby last weekend but the 1-0 victory was overshadowed by a horrendous injury to Ryan Catney.

The Reds midfielder suffered a broken leg after a late challenge on Crues defender Howard Beverland and Carvill was horrified by the incident.

"Howard and Ryan come together and I think Ryan went over the ball and caught Howard so the referee (Andrew Davey) had to send him off," said Carvill who scored the second half winner.

"But it's all irrelevant when you see a player lying there with a leg break. You think about him and hope he makes a speedy recovery and gets back on the pitch.

"It's not nice to see and it was difficult for Andrew who handled the situation well. He had to sent him off but you never like to see a leg break.

"When they went down to 10 men it made it even more difficult for us, setting up with two banks of four and we had to break them down.

"Playing against 10 men is very difficult and I don't think we stretched them enough. We could have done more in the wide areas earlier. But when the whistle goes and you get that three points it's all that matters.

"A north Belfast derby is always going to be tough and Cliftonville are a top side.

"It was up to us to produce a performance that would merit the three points and we did that.

"It's always nice to score but it was the great through ball by Jordan Forsythe that picked me out and there was enough space to get the shot away.

"Hopefully we can get another win against Glenavon - we have to keep going."

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