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Crusaders' Whyte stays put until big bid made, insists boss Baxter

By Graham Luney

Stephen Baxter says Gavin Whyte will not be leaving Crusaders this month unless an “incredible offer” is tabled for the talented winger.

Dundee United have had two bids for the 20-year-old knocked back with Crues boss Baxter saying the offers fall well short of the club’s valuation of the Belfast man.

Northern Ireland Under-21 international Whyte looks more likely to net his move to the full-time game in the summer with the Scottish Championship side monitoring developments.

“There has been some contact with Dundee United but the offers are absolutely nowhere near what we would expect for a player of this calibre,” said Baxter.

“They were less than what I am offering for Irish League players so until a club meets our valuation of him there will be no deal. We don’t want him to leave us this month. That will not happen unless a club comes in with an incredible offer and that is not likely.

“The timing of any move needs to be right for everyone.”

Baxter added: “There’s a big job to be done this season from Gavin and all of us and he knows my feelings.

“His move to full-time football can happen but when the time is right.

“There has been speculation over interest in Gavin before and I don’t want to see a media circus developing regarding this.

“If anything was to develop the club will announce it and it’s vitally important that Gavin and all the players remain totally focused on what they need to do at a crucial stage of the season.

“Gavin is playing at the top of his game at the moment, performing like he was a year ago and we still haven’t seen the best of him.

“He’s a really top talent and we want him to keep getting better.”

The Crues boss wants his players to be focused on tomorrow’s north Belfast derby against Cliftonville at Seaview as he knows the Reds will have the scent of revenge in their nostrils.

Gerard Lyttle’s side were battered 4-0 at Solitude on Boxing Day and the Reds chief said a team talk was not required for the Shore Road reunion.

Baxter, whose side lead second-placed Linfield by seven points, added: “That’s a fair assessment of their mentality as when a side loses in that manner to their derby rivals they are always looking to put things right.

“It was a big game and a tough defeat to take for the Reds and I’m sure they will look to put in  a performance which is more like them at Seaview.

“We have to be aware of that threat and alive to that danger.

“In footballing terms it was a solid performance against Glentoran and we were comfortable in the game which was the most pleasing aspect.

“We held onto the lead and didn’t concede anything at the back so that was good.”

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